MURRELLS INLET, SC (WBTW) – An alligator had to be captured and put down, after the gator killed someone’s pet dog. It happened at a lake in the Blackmoor community.
Bonnie Berchielli says she’s seen plenty of gators in the lake off Longwood Drive.
“They’re here all the time because this is their habitat,” said Berchielli who added that she hadn’t heard of a pet being killed in the area until Wednesday, when she saw it for herself.
“The gator came over to our yard in the back here, with the dog unfortunately in its mouth,” said Berchielli, “it was really scary, you know and when I found out it was a dog I was really upset, it just upset us all here on the lake.”
DNR called in the Snake Chaser, a wildlife removal service, who were able to capture the gator after about an hour.
Because a pet was killed, they also had to kill the gator since it was now a threat to homeowners.
“Once a gator eats a dog, it’s going to continue to eat dogs, it’s going to consider it a food source,” explained Russel Cavender, the Snake Chaser.
Cavender says gators can’t distinguish a swan, goose, turtle or muskrat from a dog, “but it once it knows it can get a dog, it’s going to go after others.”
Cavender says it’s a warning for pet owners to be careful around the water.
“You’ve got to think that if you keep your dog on a leash or in a fenced in yard there’s zero chance of it being killed, but if you leave it out at any body of water, it has a chance of being killed by a gator,” said Cavender.
But he also says alligators are a natural part of the environment and won’t normally cause problems.
“Never call anybody about an alligator you see in a pond, you should not be afraid of it, the only time you should call about a gator is if it is being fed by a human being,” said Cavender.
Unfortunately he’s seen many instances where gators are fed by humans, which is unfortunate because, “if you feed an alligator it has to be destroyed because it assumes a human is a food source.”
So the best thing to do is leave alligators be, and keep your pets on a leash.
The snake chaser also says alligators are most active after rain storms, so that’s when to be extra vigilant since they can show up in new areas overnight.