Know before you go

To all you folks coming to Florida pay attention: If you have a dog and want to take around ANY body of water, even a small pond, keep it on a leash and pay attention to your surroundings!

An Ohio woman (Sarah Fey) took her cairn terrier for a walk in one of Tampa’s most popular parks (Al Lopez) at 9:30am Monday. She took the leash off the dog near the water’s edge. The dog decided to go for a swim. No sooner did it hit the water before it abruptly became a snack for a gator. A trapper with Florida Fish and Wildlife is expected to be out at the park later this week. There are a few gators in that park so I expect the trapper will be trying to remove them all.

That irks me. It wasn’t the gator’s fault. The gator was doing what gators do. The gators are indigenous here, she and the dog wasn’t.

There is a sign near the park’s office but the woman said she didn’t see it. Well, that’s what happens when you don’t (or won’t) pay attention to your surroundings. Now several animals (since there are a few gators in that park) have to pay the price for her ignorance. Now she’s wisened up but the lesson come too late for her dog and the gators in the park. This is why I’m posting this info.

I’ll leave you folks with this warning: If you’re not willing to educate yourself on the dangers in this state, STAY HOME!

gator bait
Chances are the gator that ate the dog was being fed by people. Even though I’ve heard that dog is a gators favorite food I still doubt it. The only nuisance gators I’ve seen have been regularly fed. With the estimated population of gators being well over 1 million in Florida I don’t have a problem with a few gators at Lopez Park being trapped. It’s unfortunate that a dog died, but it’s better than a little kid walking the edge of the lake.

with gulfcoaster. Having lived in South Florida for 40 years it never ceases to amaze me how people will insist on annihilating wildlife for their convenience. Or demanding that the water management schedules allow them to live in a wetland. And remove the gators when they do what is instinctual. Eat.

Let me tell YOU something
The same advice goes for all you people from florida travelling to other parts of the country without a clue how to act around our wildlife. There have been more than a few bears here in Canada, east and west coast to have to be destroyed by tourists with cameras and lack of a clue.

So before you start blasting off at everyone one this site. Why dont you swallow your own meds.

Or at least come at us with something a little more pleasant than a general lecture at anyone who will listen.

We all understand you being upset about such things. Do you think i liked hearing about a mother grizzly who had to ‘defend’ her cubs from an intruding tourist? After the cameraman/tourist kept following and following, in Jasper Nat’l Park , the mama bear attacked the cameraman and killed him. Same deal goes up here.

Or feeding young whales, especsially Beluga, causing them to associate fishing boats and wharves with food, raising chances of boatstrike, I dont have to look outside my hometown for that one.

Or moose being destroyed cause tourists feeding them on the east coast…Banff national park…black bears begging on the side of the road…

Educate whom?

Good gator
but they should have signs-up to protect the gators.

Hopefully they will relocate the gator but relocating the Yankee would be easier.

Good gator
They have signs-up to protect the gators and of course she would deny seeing them. Lesson learned.

Hopefully they will relocate the gator but relocating or sending her home would be easier.

Every southern stae has been
inundated with northern city dwellers. Consequently, wildlife departments are beseiged with calls to come get the snake,squirrel,coon, possum and probably bacteria. i guess when we all have joisy accents all the indiginous critters will be dead.

Fine the tourist
if there is a leash law and make her pay for relocating the gator but that shouldn’t be necessary.

I call it teaching…pet owners…One dog at a time.

Bet she doesn’t do it again. What’s the big deal.

People for the most part suck
6.6 billion of us on the mud ball… Natural Selection is great, and I think the bears and gators ought to be allowed to win a few…

But it’s all temporary, as we are temporary…

The mud ball will survive humanity…before it turns to an ice ball. GW is temporary…

Quid Pro Quo
Maybe we can work out a deal: Northerners could promise to look out for alligator signs when in Florida if Southerners would promise not drive in the North until they learn not to slam on the brakes upon the first snowflake sighting.

Maybe we could just bring a few gators
up and feed them a few Northerners in the summer, easier to do.

subject I guess. I dont think gators have a distinct taste for northerners. And hurricanes dont either. The point is you live with the environmental limitations presented to you be they bears up north or gators south of Mason Dixie. Prior to living in Florida I grew up in the Bahamas where I spent lots of time spearfishing in sharky waters as a young man. A risk for sure but thank God for the beauty of those predators.

My Cairn Terrier
would eat your gator.

I DO follow my own advice.
Very seldom do I leave Florida (why should I? everything I want or need is here) but when I do I confer with the folks who’ve been there and pay heed to what they say.

Very few people who are here going to where you are (where ever that may be) are NOT originally from Florida, they moved down here, doing the same thing they’re doing where ever they go, so don’t blame the true floridians. I’ve total respect for all wildlife where ever I go. Educate whom? Everybody visiting or, God forbid, moving here and refuse to learn anything about what can hurt and/or kill you. For instance, as a canoe tour guide you wouldn’t believe how many people get upset when I first gently ask people to not get so close to a female gator with babies, then I have to yell at them because I see mama beginning to bow up. “I just want a better picture”, they tell me. Well, I don’t want excuses, I want them to quit stressing the gator and if they want a close-up photo take it from a safe distance. Can’t get a good photo from that distance? Tough crap! Should’ve brought a zoom or telephoto lens along.

So what makes you think I was refering to you when I’m advising people about gators? If anything you should jump on the bandwagon instead of reacting the way you did.

Unfortunately any gator over four ft.
won’t get relocated, they get butchered. That’s why I get ticked.

I usually bring a hand full of
Chihuahuas for snacks for them !



Don’t do it!
Their bony bodies get stuck in the gator’s teeth, requiring the Fish and Game department to trap the gator and floss it’s mouth. A dangerous job for anyone.


I called the FL board of tourism, and
they said I can feed Dogs to Gators if I want to, as long as I do it in the Gator Bowl.

Predators serve a niche.
Meat is meat and they don’t discriminate.

Ignorance is not their problem, but yours.

To quote Forest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does.” Regional prejudice is stupid and only divides us as a country. I’ve known plenty of

“backwoods yankees” and “city slickers” that know a helluva alot more about the outdoors in general (everywhere) than your average Nascar lovin’ “Johnny Reb” knows about a gray squirrel. And I’ve known and fought along side of quite a few “good ol’ boys” from the deep south, who could out fight even the toughest, biggest-badasst mofo that Bed Stuy had to offer. Point is: Never underestimate, cliche pigeon-hole or assume anything about anybody based on where they’re from in this great country of ours. YOU could be the one who ends up getting eaten. Your mother or mine, could just as easily have had her dog off the leash in Tampa that day. Or perhaps running across thin ice on a lake up north.

Gotta agree with
Spiritboat. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what state you’re in, how long you’ve lived there or who your daddy is. There are just as many ignorant “native” folks as there are tourists. Bad or misplaced judgment knows no bounds. How do I know? 9 years in search and rescue…and still going. Just when I thought I’ve seen it all, someone does something that makes me fricken utter “whiskey tango foxtrot, over?”

This was just one incident and already you’ve pigeon holed her as a stupid tourist. Compile a list of visitor vs. native incidents over the last year and get back to us.

And for the record…

  1. Rest assured, my friend. You don’t have to worry about this out-of-stater moving to your area or coast for that matter. There are more enough people in my line of work that’d give their right testicle/ovary to move somewhere warm, tropical and cushy.

  2. I hate punt dogs.