Park rangers at Maclay Gardens are keeping an eye out for an alligator that reportedly killed a dog Saturday morning.
Around 10:30 Saturday morning, a woman told Maclay Garden officials her dog was attacked and killed by one of Florida's top predators: an alligator. Rangers found paw prints next to Lake Overstreet. They say this is where the dog was pulled into the lake.
Park officials say the vegetation shows where the gator pulled the dog away from the shore, and then rolled with it flattening weeds as the two animals fought.
"Alligators are significant predators of four legged animals and they specifically really seem to like to dogs. I'm not sure if they're similar to deer, but they go after them very aggressively," said Charlie Chase, a board member of the Leon County Humane Society.
"This is a natural predation by an alligator. Unfortunately, the dog was off its leash at the time and we encourage them to use leashes for this reason so they can keep control of the animal and when it grabbed it, it went up and grabbed it and dragged it off," said Maclay Gardens assistant park manager, Robert Lacy.
The attack was witnessed and reported by the dog's owner. She says she had just let her eight-year-old labrador retriever off its leash. This trail is a highly used area of the park which sits within Tallahassee city limits.
Animal experts warn all residents to keep their dogs with them while visiting natural areas. So far there's been no sighting of the alligator or the labrador retriever.
Rangers are still considering what if anything should be done about the alligator.