Gator snatches, kills family dog at public park in Pinellas County

Posted at 5:27 PM, Aug 10, 2016

An alligator snatched and killed a family pet on a trail at the Joes Creek Greenway Park in Pinellas County over the weekend. 

Sue Fortenbery went to walk with her one-year-old Jack Russell, named Bolt when he got loose from his collar to chase after a rabbit. 

The rabbit led Bolt through a hole in a fence into the waterway at the preserve. 

"The screams is what you can't stop hearing, the yelping," she said. 

Fortenbery was with her grandson, who also watched how quick the gator came out of the water to grab their pet. 

"There's all these openings," she pointed out while walking the trail again. 

We found several openings ourselves along the trail, some around a foot wide, gaining access past the fenced area.

"If the fence wasn't open like this, he couldn't have gone through and the gator couldn't have got him," Fortenbery said.

Fortenbery said she's upset that the Pinellas County officials told her they won't remove the gator, but they told her they will monitor it. 

As of now, the county does not consider this gator a nuisance because they have had no other complaints, and they were not given a good description what the gator looks like at the park to try and find it. 

The county has not surveyed the body of water to see how many gators may be in the preserve, but they urge the public to contact the parks department with any concerns or up close sightings. 

Fortenbery's biggest concern is moving forward, as there are two schools near the park, and a new development that has access to the park.