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Florida man says he poked an alligator in the eye, wrestled it to rescue his puppy

If this story sounds familiar to you, that's because this isn't the first time a man in Florida has dived into the water to rescue their dog.
Credit: Danny Schiffer
Danny Schiffer - Alligator photo

TAMPA, Fla. — Editor's note: The above photo is a file photo of an alligator. It is not the one mentioned in this story.  

One Florida man says he didn't need to think twice when it came to rescuing his 8-month-old Labrador from the jaws of an alligator. 

Mike McCoy says he was walking the chocolate lab puppy, Jake, near a pond when an alligator jumped out from the water and pulled the dog under, according to WSVN.

NBC 6 in Miami says McCoy didn't hesitate and went right in after them. 

"It's a parent instinct," he told NBC 6. 

McCoy told WSVN he used his thumb to poke the alligator's eye. He says he also picked it up out of the water to make sure it wouldn't go anywhere until it let Jake free, according to WSVN. 

"...and in the interim, he decided, ‘OK, I don’t have him. I’ll bite you," McCoy told WSVN. 

The whole thing went down near a middle school, where luckily, the nurse on duty saw the whole thing happen and was able to help bandage up McCoy, according to WSVN. WSVN says both McCoy and Jake had to get stitches. 

McCoy told WSVN Jake is on the mend. 

FLORIDA MAN SAVES 🐶 FROM 🐊: A Florida man wasted no time in coming to his dog's rescue when the 8-month old puppy encountered an alligator near their home in Holiday, Fla.

Posted by NBC 6 on Saturday, May 15, 2021

If this story sounds familiar to you, that's because this isn't the first time a man in Florida has dived into the water to rescue their dog.

Last November, another Florida man was caught on surveillance video jumping into a pond to rescue his 3-month-old puppy from the jaws of an alligator. 

Richard Wilbanks told WINK News when an alligator grabbed his dog, his instincts and adrenaline kicked in. He ran into the pond in his backyard and rescued his Cavalier King Charles spaniel puppy Gunner from the alligator.

After he got the puppy free, the two were mostly unharmed.  

RELATED: Florida man jumps into pond, wrestles alligator to save puppy

Alligators become more visible and active during spring and summer due to both mating season and an increase in temperature sending them on a search for food.

But, don't worry, deadly alligator attacks on humans remain rare. According to FWC, the likelihood of a Floridian being seriously injured during an unprovoked alligator incident in Florida is roughly only 1 in 3.2 million. 

So, what should you do if you come across an alligator while you're out and about in Florida?

FWC says people should never feed alligators and keep their distance if they see one. People can also stay safe by only swimming in designated swimming areas and keeping pets away from the water and on a leash at all times when they're out. 

You can read more about living with alligators on FWC's website.

If an alligator is spotted somewhere it probably shouldn't be, you can call FWC's Nuisance Alligator Hotline.

FWC says an alligator can be considered a nuisance if it is at least four feet in length and the person calling it into the toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline thinks it could be a threat to people, pets or property. When people call the hotline and are concerned about an alligator, FWC says it will send out one of its nuisance alligator trappers to handle the situation. 

The  Alligator Hotline is 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286). 

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