Florida woman jumps into pond to rescue her dog from the jaws of - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Florida woman jumps into pond to rescue her dog from the jaws of a 7.5-foot-long alligator

INVERNESS, Fla. - A 52-year-old Florida woman jumped into a pond and battled a gator that grabbed and tried to eat her beloved dog.

Neck deep in pond water, Lori Beiswenger was face-to-face with the alligator.

Inside the seven-and-a-half foot gator has her beloved dog, Hope, in its jaws and he's trying to make Hope his dinner.

"I saw teeth and hair and gator," recalled the 52-year-old mother of four.

It was July 11 and Beiswenger had been out doing some gardening near the sixth hole of her family-owned golf course, Point O'Woods, in Inverness.  She'd taken her 9-year-old dog, Hope, a terrier mix, out to enjoy the weather.

Busy planting trees, Beiswenger had her back turned to the nearby pond.

"I hear the most God awful, piercing scream that I have ever heard in my life," she said.

Beiswenger turned around and saw a gator pulling Hope into the water.

Within seconds, Hope was in the water, the gator pulling her under.

"I was screaming her name, 'Hope, no!'  Then, I started screaming, 'Somebody help,'" Beiswenger said.

No one heard her screams.

"I jumped in, grabbed the [gator's] tail and pulled him back and he started thrashing and rolling her [Hope] some more," she said.

Beiswenger pulled the gator's tail a second time.

"The third time I did it, he turned around and looked at me," she said.

Fearing for her life, Beiswenger got out of the water.

As she looked back, Hope was still sinking and the gator kept pulling her under the water.

Beiswenger told ABC Action News in Tampa that she threw herself onto the ground and kept screaming.

Finally, Jodie Daniels, a golf course volunteer, who was teeing up on hole one, heard Hope yelping.

That's when he ran over to help.

"I thought it [Hope] was dead because all I could see was the whites of its eyes," said Daniels.

Listening to Beiswenger's pleas, Daniels grabbed a golf club and waded into the water until he was knee deep.

Daniels says he was unable to reach Hope with the golf club because it wasn't long enough.

That's when Beiswenger brought him a shovel.

"It was quite a shock to pull the dog up and the gator is still attached to the dog," he recalled.

Bloodied, but with all her legs still attached, Hope ran onto the dry land and the gator followed.

Daniels recalled hitting the gator on the top of the head with the shovel and the gator swimming off.

Beiswenger picked up Hope, put her in a golf cart and drove her to the clubhouse.  Once there, she grabbed a tablecloth and used it as a tourniquet.  She managed to get Hope to an emergency vet nearby.

Since Hope swallowed a lot of water, there were complications with being able to immediately take her into surgery, Beiswenger said.

Eventually, Hope would undergo a three-hour surgery.

Hope went home that night.

"I was on death watch," Beiswenger said.

The next day, a private company trapped the gator.

Beiswenger watched as the gator was pulled from the pond and had his feet tied behind his back.

"I read him his Miranda Rights," she said while laughing.

The company later killed the gator and sold the gator meat to a restaurant, according to Beiswenger.

"He's now gator bites, some restaurant," she said.

Hope is expected to have her stitches removed on Saturday.

According to Beiswenger, she called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission a few weeks prior to the attack to report the gator. 

However, because the gator was not a nuisance, FWC protocol calls for agents to not remove gators of this type.

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