When there’s a story about a woman walking a dog near a body of water in alligator country, you can probably figure out what happens next.
But a few details of this particular incident on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina make the tale a little more unusual.
It was 8:00 a.m. on Thursday morning, and a woman was walking her small dog near a lagoon where an 8-foot alligator was lurking.
Perhaps the gator meant to go for the dog and ended up with more than it bargained for when it clamped down on the woman’s leg.
Usually, it’s the owner who jumps in to save the dog from becoming dinner, but in this case, the alligator dragged the woman into the water.
According to a news release from the local government, a nearby resident spotted her struggling.
“She investigated and found the victim in the water with an alligator latched on to her lower leg(s),” the release says. “The witness entered the water and tried to pull the victim back to safety.”
The witness’ husband joined the rescue effort and managed to free the woman by repeatedly hitting the alligator with a shovel, according to WTOC-TV.
While the woman sustained serious injuries and was taken to a hospital, her dog was fine.
The same cannot be said of the alligator, which was trapped and euthanized following the incident.
Fire and rescue personnel, Hilton Head staff, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources officers were on the scene, according to the release.
“When fed, alligators overcome their natural wariness and can begin to associate people with food,” the release stated, adding that the contents of the reptile’s stomach will be examined to see if unauthorized feeding could have contributed to the attack.
Many people commented on social media that as long as pet owners walk their dogs near lagoons, alligator attacks will continue; gators see dogs as dinner on legs.
Hilton Head Island Fire Deputy Chief Joheida Fister took the opportunity to warn other dog walkers of the dangers they face when passing near water.
“This is an unfortunate incident,” Fister said. “We advise residents to be aware of their surroundings, especially if they are taking walks with small pets near lagoons that are habitats for alligators.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.