PAISLEY, Fla. - Two puppies were running in their backyard towards Lake Kathryn on a sunny afternoon when suddenly an alligator launches itself out of the water and grabs a hold of one, not letting go.
Dale Barberi got home from work Thursday and couldn’t find his puppy, Mia. His daughter told him the five-and-a-half-month-old white German Shepherd was in the back yard, but he couldn’t find her.
“I got in the truck, drove all over the neighborhood, asked the neighbors if they’d seen her,” Barberi said. “Friday, I went to work, came home, still no Mia. So I said I better look at the cameras. Figured somebody might have opened the gate and stole her.”
The video from the cameras in front of his house didn’t show any action. When he checked the back camera, he couldn’t believe what he was looking at.
“As I saw it, going through the footage, right at 12:32 in the afternoon. It kind of set me back a little bit,” he said.
Mia would have turned six months old tomorrow. Barberi said his sweet pup didn’t stand a chance against the large aggressive alligator.
“It looked from the video as if it just darted right at her. The wildlife officer said he’d never seen an alligator attack like that. It resembled more of a crocodile attack,” Barberi explained.
He’s been living on Lake Kathryn in Paisley for 16 years. He said the biggest alligators he had ever seen with his own two eyes were three to four feet. He had never worried about his family or animals being attacked.
“We swim, jetski out there water ski out there,” Barberi said. “Little alligators are afraid of humans.”
Barberi told FOX 35 News that his neighbors have been telling him that an elderly woman across the lake had been feeding alligators for years and that she died recently.
He said the lesson he’d like to get out in all this, “the biggest thing I want people to be aware of the wildlife and don’t feed them. They lose their fear of people. Once they leave their fear of people they will attack,” Barberi said.
An alligator trapper found Mia’s remains in a grassy area across the lake from Barberi’s home. Barberi said that a trapper and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have identified three large alligators on that lake. They are working together to remove them.