Buddy Ackerman was taking the golden retriever, named Osi, on an early morning walk when a gator emerged from a retention pond near his Palm Harbor condominium and grabbed the dog in its mouth, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
“He was squealing a good bit when the thing grabbed him," Ackerman told Tampa Bay station WFTS-TV. “Me, I'm a nervous wreck, I go up and slip and fall on my rear end, and the two of us are tugging. Alligator is going one way, I’m going the other.”
Ackerman told the Times he first tried pulling on Osi’s retractable leash to free the pup. He then kicked the gator until the reptile released the dog. Osi ran to safety and didn’t suffer any injuries.
"My father is our hero, Osi and I are so very grateful that nobody was hurt," Ackerman’s daughter, Jody, told WFTS.
Ackerman told the Times that he called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials following the attack. He said trappers arrived and captured a gator later that day.
The FWC urges residents to be cautious when walking their pets and to keep them “on a leash and away from the water.”
Last year, a South Carolina woman died after an alligator dragged her into a lagoon while she was trying to save her dog.