Grandfather Wrestles Gator to Save Dog

(Image Credit: Orlando Sentinel)

A Florida grandfather wasn't about to let an alligator make a meal out of his Bounce.

Steve Gustafson, 66, was doing yard work on Tuesday when he heard his pooch cry out for help. Gustafson turned around and saw a 7-foot alligator pull Bounce, who weighs 13 pounds, into the water by her shoulder and collar, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

"For whatever reason, I don't know, I just yelled, 'you're not going to get her!' and just leaped on the gator…just like you do some silly belly flop in a pool," Gustafson told the newspaper. "The only difference was I landed on top of a gator."

He managed to wrestle the 9-year-old West Highland Terrier free of the gator's grip and walk away from the encounter shaken and bruised, but happy to have Bounce back in his arms.

Patrick Delaney, an alligator biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said attacks on dogs are "extremely uncommon" but do occur.

"One thing we stress at the Florida Fish and Wildlife is to be proactive. Not letting your dog that close to the shoreline would be the best thing you could do, and if you're near the shore, keep your dog on a leash," he told

Temperatures stretching into the 80s and 90s this month have kept alligator activity high, Delaney said.

"Their activity levels are based off temperatures," he said. "It has been hot down here and they're still moving around."

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