Richard Wilbanks, 74, of Estero bumped into his yard pond, wrestled the gator above floor, and pried its jaws open to free Gunner, his Cavalier King Charles spaniel.
“We were just out walking by the pond,” Wilbanks instructed CNN, “and it came out of the water like a missile. I never thought an alligator could be that fast. It was so quick.”
He mentioned adrenaline or intuition kicked in, and “I just automatically jumped into the water.”
Holding the alligator wasn’t so powerful, however prying open the jaws was “extremely hard,” he mentioned.
Wilbanks mentioned his arms had been “chewed up,” and he went to a physician for a tetanus shot.
Gunner had one puncture wound in his stomach and did advantageous after a visit to the veterinarian’s workplace.
The rescue south of Fort Myers was caught on digicam due to a partnership between the Florida Wildlife Federation and the fSTOP Foundation.
Wilbanks agrees with that mission and he would not need the alligator faraway from the pond or destroyed.
“They’re part of nature and part of our lives,” he mentioned.
He nonetheless takes Gunner strolling, however he retains the pet on a leash — and 10 ft from the pond’s edge. “Our pets, they’re just like family to us,” he mentioned.