Cynthia Robinson of Auburndale stood in tears and recounted how she saw her 6-year-old, 100-pound pit bull, Tank, being eaten by an alligator as the two spent time near a retention pond at Lake Marianna.
AUBURNDALE — Cynthia Robinson of Auburndale stood in tears and told WFLA Channel 8 reporters of how she saw her 6-year-old, 100-pound pit bull, Tank, being eaten by an alligator as the two spent time near a retention pond at Lake Marianna.
Thursday morning, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hotline received a call from a frantic Robinson that her dog had been killed by the gator.
“The FWC is working directly with the Polk County Parks and Natural Resources Division and an FWC contracted nuisance alligator trapper has been dispatched to the location,” said Melody Kilborn, FWC’s Southwest Region public information director. “We are saddened to hear about the loss of a beloved family pet.”
Robinson told Channel 8 reporters that when she grabbed the dog’s leash and went to snatch him up, she turned around and “the gator was right there, his head was this big.”
“So I fell, and I just sat there,” she said, fighting tears. “There was nothing I could do for my baby but watch him go under, and then he ended up going over here,” she said, motioning to deeper water. “I could still see Tank in his mouth.”
During the interview, children could be seen fishing on the bank opposite where the incident took place.
“I just don’t want nobody to get hurt,” Robinson said. “You see kids over there, there’s always someone out here. They are fishing or playing. It is a pretty place. It is supposed to be a walk around, supposed to not be dangerous. I only wanted my dog to have fun, and he loves this right here.”
Polk County Parks Director Gaye Sharpe told The Ledger that the park area had been closed while the trapper attempted to capture the gator.
According to the FWC, serious injuries by alligators in Florida are rare.
“FWC places the highest priority on public safety and administers a Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) to address complaints concerning specific alligators believed to pose a threat to people, pets, or property,” wrote Kilborn. People with concerns are asked to call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).
“Dogs and cats are similar in size to the natural prey of alligators. Do not allow pets to swim, exercise or drink in or near waters that may contain alligators. Keep pets on a short leash and away from the water,” Kilborn said.