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A Florida man ‘thumbed’ an alligator in the eye to rescue his dog from a ‘death roll’

Summary List PlacementOn Tuesday, May 11, Mike McCoy was walking his 8-month-old chocolate lab, Jake, through his neighborhood in Holiday, Florida, when he noticed something was amiss. Jake had wandered a few feet away near a pond when McCoy noticed something spring out of the water with no warning. Before he knew it, the alligator had pulled his dog underneath the water. "He was in a death roll with that thing," he told NBC News on May 14. Instead of panicking or running for help, McCoy did the first thing he could think of — he jumped into the water to...

Alligator in Florida

Summary List Placement

On Tuesday, May 11, Mike McCoy was walking his 8-month-old chocolate lab, Jake, through his neighborhood in Holiday, Florida, when he noticed something was amiss.

Jake had wandered a few feet away near a pond when McCoy noticed something spring out of the water with no warning. Before he knew it, the alligator had pulled his dog underneath the water.

“He was in a death roll with that thing,” he told NBC News on May 14. Instead of panicking or running for help, McCoy did the first thing he could think of — he jumped into the water to try and grab Jake.

“I previously read up on my environment and gators. I got around, thumbed him in the eye, picked him out of the water so he couldn’t get anywhere until he let the dog go. And in the interim he decided, I don’t have him, I’ll bite you,” he told ABC Action News.

mike mccoy dog jake

“Had I not remembered what I read about the alligators, I wouldn’t have been able to respond as quickly to help Jake. It was only because I knew what I did that I felt confident to fight the gator off,” he added to NBC.

While they’re lucky, they didn’t come out of the encounter totally unscathed. The attack was right near a school, and a nearby nurse witnessed the entire thing and was able to help bandage McCoy’s wounds — the alligator bit him twice. Both Jake and McCoy needed stitches.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission told ABC Action News they estimated the alligator to be between 7 and 9 feet long, and are working with a trapper to capture the reptile.

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