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Florida man wrestles his puppy from jaws of alligator

Florida man wrestles his puppy from jaws of alligator
Posted at 9:17 AM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 09:17:57-05

ESTERO, Fla. — A Florida man saved his dog from certain death after he wrestled an alligator that snatched the puppy and dragged the pooch into a pond.

"He just came out like a missile," 74-year-old Richard Wilbanks of Estero said of the gator that attacked Gunner, his cavalier King Charles spaniel.

Wilbanks jumped into the water, pried open the gator's mouth and freed Gunner from the gator's jaws.

The rescue was caught on camera by the Florida Wildlife Federation.

Wilbanks told CNN that his hands were "just chewed up," but Gunner is doing OK.

"We live on a shared landscape," Florida Wildlife Federation spokeswoman Meredith Budd told WINK-TV in Fort Myers. "We don't just want to tolerate wildlife, but, rather, we want to thrive with wildlife on a shared landscape."

Gunner now takes walks on a leash and away from the water's edge.

This story was originally published by Peter Burke on WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida