Sunday, December 17, 2017
Public safety

Pinellas deputy wrangles 10-foot gator in Oldsmar

OLDSMAR — A woman called 911 early Tuesday to report a bizarre yet distinctly Floridian sight: An alligator, she told dispatchers, was snapping at cars near a dentist's office.

Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found the 10-foot reptile at the corner of Tampa Road and County Road 611 around 5:45 a.m., a Sheriff's Office spokesperson said.

Deputy Jeff Crandall, a 30-year squad veteran, chose to wrangle the beast. He roped the gator's neck, according to the Sheriff's Office, and taped its snout.

Then he sat on the reptile's back and looked at the camera.

It wasn't Crandall's first encounter with an unruly gator. Three years ago, he helped subdue another unwelcome scaly visitor outside Oldsmar's Forest Lakes Elementary School.

Crandall declined an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers transported the bound alligator Tuesday morning to a state-contracted trapper, said Gary Morse, FWC spokesman.

But no one, he said, should ever attempt to wrestle a wild animal.

"Unless it's an absolute necessity, we advise sheriff's deputies to wait until we get there in these situations," Morse said. "Large, powerful animals like that are always dangerous."

Danielle Paquette can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4224.

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