Early Tuesday morning, Buddy Ackerman was taking his daughter's golden retriever Osi out for a walk near his Palm Harbor condominium.
That's when an alligator rose out of a retention pond in the dark and latched onto the dog. Ackerman, 75, said he went into fight mode to save Osi. He kicked the 8-foot-long gator in the snout and it let go of the dog.
Ackerman said Osi was on a retractable leash as he made his way to the pond that morning. It was about 5:30 a.m., so it was dark outside. Ackerman soon heard the dog whimpering, then saw that a gator had latched onto the dog. Ackerman pulled on the leash trying to free him, then kicked the reptile.
The gator let go and Osi ran to safety. The dog did not suffer any injuries.
Ackerman called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Nuisance Alligator Hotline. He said trappers came out later that day and captured an alligator similar to the one that bit Osi. "I'm chalking it up to good luck," Ackerman said. "I was worried more about my daughter and how she would feel."
Contact Dinorah Prevost at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @dprevost1.