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'I have a great deal of guilt:' Florida pet owner shares warning after alligator attacks his dog

Posted at 5:28 AM, Jul 18, 2019

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — George is living his best life out in the open field running and catching tennis balls.

His owner, Blair Haines, said he's grateful because George couldn't do any of this last week.

According to Haines and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, an alligator attacked George in one of the ponds at the Northdale Soccer Club Park.

Blair and George go to the park every day and play catch. George loves the water so he lets him get in sometimes.

"I threw the ball [in the pond], " he said.

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The gator attacked George while he was trying to swim back to shore. Haines said the gator grabbed George back leg and pulled him under for like "five seconds."

George, somehow, fought the gator and survived.

"I have a great deal of guilt," said Haines.

He blames himself because the county says not to take the dogs off their leash, and warns people about the lakes and ponds in the park.

"The county warns you about it constantly," Haines said. "People just don't pay attention."

Haines has started warning others about the gators, so others don't make the same mistake he made.

"People heed the warning," he said. "There's a reason to keep your dogs on the leash."

Officials say there could be more gators in that area and a similar attack could happen to anyone or their pet.

"Don't be foolish," said Haines.