Fla. man pulls dog from gator's jaws; dog made sheriff’s deputy

A puppy became a local celebrity -- and honorary deputy -- after video of its brush with an alligator went viral

By Joe Mario Pedersen
Orlando Sentinel

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — A dog lucky to be alive following an alligator attack was deputized as a safety and security officer by a Florida sheriff Wednesday.

Gunner, a 4-month-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was deputized by Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno for his unique survival history and the lessons it can provide children in the county.

“Gunner’s tenacity and fight for survival proves he’s the perfect candidate as the Safety and Security Officer for Deputy Dogs,” Marceno said in a release. “His brush with an alligator makes him uniquely qualified to be a safety officer, teaching children the do’s and don’ts.”

In October, Gunner and his owner, identified as Richard, were walking near the edge of a lake when they attracted a hungry gator.

A nearby surveillance camera captured the attack and showed a small gator pulling the puppy into the water. Luckily, Richard was quick to react and jumped into the, pulling the gator out - his puppy still in its jaws.

Richard pried the jaws open and released his dog from the gator. Gunner ran off camera. Richard returned the gator to the water.

Upon hearing the fortunate story, Marceno decided Gunner and Rick would be a great team for LCSO’s Deputy Dog Pets on Patrol initiative, which encourages owners to pay attention for suspicious activity while out with their pets, to speak to kids about safety and help the sheriff’s office prevent animal abuse in the neighborhood.

“I’m Happy to say Gunner is here because of Rick’s fast actions,” Marceno said. “Gunner our detective, a little dog, is safe with his homeowner. It’s a great day.”

“Detective” Gunner will be meeting residents of the community for two hours on Dec. 19 at the Brotherhood of Heroes museum/LCSO Community Outreach Center.

(c)2020 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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