Not every hero wears a cape. This saying also applies to a Florida retiree after rescuing his puppy from an alligator’s jaws on camera. 74-year-old Richard Wilbanks instinctively jumped into the water to save his three-month-old Calvalier King Charles Spaniel named Gunner from the alligator.
The rescue act took place in Wilbanks’ backyard pond and was recorded on a surveillance camera. The cameras were installed on his property in cooperation with animal welfare organizations. The video can now be seen on Twitter.
The dramatic footage shows Wilbanks waist-deep in the water opening the alligator’s jaw to allow Gunner to escape. The video was taped in late October but was only just discovered, Florida Wildlife Federation regional director Meredith Budd told NewsABC.net.
“We were just walking by the pond and the alligator came out of the water like a rocket,” said Wilbanks to the US television station “CNN”. “I never thought an alligator could be that fast. I just automatically jumped into the water. “
Opening the alligator’s mouth was “extremely difficult,” said Wilbanks, adding that his hands were “chewed up”. Then he went to the doctor for a tetanus shot.
Gunner, the puppy, was also taken to a veterinarian after the incident. The short fight left him with a stab wound on his stomach. But now he’s fine again. “The dogs are like children to us, so there was no second thought at all,” Wilbanks told WINK News.
Owner and dog got away with the shock
The cameras that recorded the incident usually observe bobcats and deer. “We live in beautiful southwest Florida, and the wildlife is what makes this region so unique,” said Budd of the Florida Wildlife Federation NewsABC.net.
She continued, “I’ve spoken to the homeowners and even after this encounter, they are still just as passionate about wildlife and appreciate the beauty of their surroundings.”
Wilbanks agrees that alligators are a part of nature and says he will keep Gunner on a leash from now on. “Our pets are like family to us.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recommends extra caution when handling small dogs and cats in the area – as they are about the size of the natural prey of alligators, which are common in the area.
This article was translated from English by Klemens Handke. You can find the original here.