*Warning: The following video contains content that some might find disturbing.*
ESTERO, Fla. (WFLA/NBC) – A Florida man rescued his puppy from the jaws of an alligator and it was all caught on video.
Richard Wilbanks said he was enjoying a beautiful fall day outside at the end of October with his dog Gunner when all of the sudden he heard a cry for help from the young puppy.
An alligator in their backyard pond had Gunner in its grasp.
Video from the Florida Wildlife Federation’s Sharing the Landscape project shows Wilbanks jump into action to rescue the puppy.
Both the Florida Wildlife Federation and the fStop Foundation want the shocking video to serve as a teachable moment, always be cautious with your pets near water.
“If we understand how to deal with them, how to interact with them or not. Then the outcome is always positive,” William Freund with fStop Foundation said.
Wilbanks walked away with only a few cuts and Gunner, who was taken to the vet, is doing great.
The gator was removed from the property.
“Oh, it was just a shock. It happened so fast that, you know, instinct just took over,” said Wilbanks. “Adrenaline kicked in and I just went right into the water after the gator and Gunner.”
“He had the dog and he is covered in blood, not the dog. So, I was just like ‘Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!'” Wilbanks wife, Louise, said. “Everything is going through my mind and he said an alligator and I was like ‘you’ve got to be kidding me!’ I really did not grasp it.”
Sharing the Landscape project hopes to elevate the conversation about how humans and wildlife both inherently share the same landscape, according to the Florida Wildlife Federation.
In the spring of this year, the Florida Wildlife Federation said volunteers were selected who live in residences that border wild habitat in Lee County and cameras were placed in their backyards to document wildlife that live and share the landscape with the residents. The organization, in conjunction with fStop Foundation, has been monitoring these cameras, retrieving memory cards to upload photos every several weeks.