HomeOutdoorsNewsFlorida Alligator Bites K9 Rescue Dog ‘to the Bone’ in Brutal Attack

Florida Alligator Bites K9 Rescue Dog ‘to the Bone’ in Brutal Attack

by Caitlin Berard
Alligator With Jaws Wide in Florida
(Photo by unclegene via Getty Images)

While carrying out a rescue mission with his team, a K9 rescue dog was attacked by an alligator in Florida’s southwestern canals.

It started with a search for a mission person Sunday. Dutch, an 8-year-old service dog belonging to the Peace River K9 Search and Rescue (PRSAR) nonprofit, was searching the canals with his humans. The German shepherd was patrolling near the shoreline when a large alligator launched itself from the water, taking aim at the pup.

According to his owner, Dutch is lucky to be alive. “The gator struck him in the right shoulder,” Michael Hadsell, president of PRSAR, told Newsweek. “The bottom fang missed his lung by centimeters, and the top fang went through his tricep to the bone.”

For confidentiality reasons, Hadsell could not divulge the exact location or details of the case during which the incident occurred. PRSAR, a Florida-based nonprofit, works to “assist local, state, military, federal, private agencies and families” in the search and recovery of “lost, missing, and abducted persons.”

Dutch the Rescue Dog is a Seasoned Team Member

According to PRSAR officials, Dutch has been a search and rescue dog for five years and is highly decorated. In addition to being certified in water rescue, he’s also trained in living persons and human remains detection. And though his job saves lives, the dog’s travels often take him through Florida’s alligator country.

“Part of these duties includes searching for human remains on water or near water doing what is known as a shoreline search,” Hadsell said. Florida is home to more than 1 million alligators, the highest population in the United States. They inhabit all 67 counties and make their homes in the state’s many marshes, swamps, rivers, and lakes.

As such, Dutch’s hunts through Florida’s swamps and marshland routinely puts him in danger of alligator attacks. This, however, is simply an accepted part of the job.

“Unfortunately, evildoers do not leave their victims in nice places, so we search in swamps, open water areas, and offshore,” Hadsell said. “Dealing with gators, snakes, and sharks is just part of the job and we mitigate these issues the best we can.”

Alligator Attack Takes Florida Rescue Team by Surprise

Though they have no choice but to bring Dutch to gator country, his human counterparts do their best to protect him. Because of this, the beloved rescue pup falling victim to an alligator shocked everyone involved.

“We had not seen ANY gators or activity in the area,” Hadsell explained. “Earlier in the week, we did see a 4-foot gator hanging around. We believe that was the culprit here.”

As the Florida Wildlife Commission explained, 4-foot alligators are just large enough to cause problems. Though not inherent man eaters, any alligator above 4 feet is considered a potential threat to pets, people, and property. “Smaller gators are known for being cocky and taking on fights they shouldn’t,” Hadsell said.

“Gator bites are NASTY and carry a lot of diseases so we are watching for infection,” he continued. “That will be the big battle now.”

After a quick trip to the vet for treatment, Dutch went home, where he’s currently receiving “lots of TLC.”