Florida man wrestles puppy from jaws of alligator

Rescue caught on camera
Richard Wilbanks rescues puppy from gator in pond
Posted at 9:54 AM, Nov 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-22 09:54:16-05

ESTERO, Fla. — A Florida man saved his dog from certain death after he wrestled an alligator that snatched the puppy and dragged the pooch into a pond.

"He just came out like a missile," Richard Wilbanks, 74, of Estero, said of the gator that attacked his cavalier King Charles spaniel named Gunner.

Wilbanks jumped into the water, pried open the gator's mouth and freed Gunner from the gator's jaws.

The rescue was caught on camera by the Florida Wildlife Federation.

Wilbanks told CNN that his hands were "just chewed up," but Gunner is doing OK.

"We live on a shared landscape," Florida Wildlife Federation spokeswoman Meredith Budd told Fort Myers CBS affiliate WINK. "We don't just want to tolerate wildlife, but, rather, we want to thrive with wildlife on a shared landscape."

Gunner now takes walks on a leash and away from the water's edge.