9-foot gator captured after family's dog killed in Port Orange
100-pound boxer found dead in lake
PORT ORANGE, Fla. – A 9-foot alligator was captured Wednesday after a family's dog was found dead in a Port Orange lake.
Although at least five gators remain in the lake in the Skyview subdivision, according to the trapper, he believes he caught the right one because it was near the area where the dog's carcass was found.
"He's territorial to his kill. He kept staying in the same spot so that's the one I was trying to target," said Curtis Lucas, of Nuisance Alligator Trapper.
Lucas waited in the water patiently for hours, until he caught the gator.
"There's a hook on a piece of bait and basically he wrapped around a little piece of tree there and I pulled him up with a .44 magnum at the end of the stick and just shoot him," he said.
Lucas said while one alligator is gone, he predicts at least six remain including a female having babies. He gives this piece of advice to neighbors living among them.
"If you live around water and you let your dog run around free. That's a lot of risk. You're assuming the risk and unfortunately it does happen in Florida," he said.
Officials will examine the male alligator to determine if it killed the 100-pound boxer, which somehow ended up in the water.
Dave Kirby heard about the missing neighborhood dog, but he didn't think he would see it floating dead near his backyard.
"I had some binoculars and I was able to see that it did look like a dog," Kirby said.
Kirby helped trappers retrieve the dog's body.
"They were able to relocate the dog to the dock and we helped get the dog out of the water and carry it up," he said.
A neighbor, Amber Barker, snapped photos of the alligators Tuesday morning, not knowing what had happened. She also has a boxer that is only half the size of the one that was killed.
"It's really sad," Barker said. "Honestly, I saw the alligator today and I just couldn't imagine something happening to my dog."
Kirby is even more fearful, since he has children ages 3 and 7. He keeps them from getting too close to the lake.
"If it was a child, how much more devastating would that be for the parents or the family members?" Kirby said.
"This is Florida, this is where the alligators live, and we're in their area so we have to learn how to live together, but there comes a time where we have to take action to protect those people and animals that we love," Kirby said.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, an alligator can be deemed a nuisance if it is at least 4 feet in length and the caller believes it poses a threat to people, pets or property. Nuisance gators are killed, not relocated.
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