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Florida man kicks gator in snout, saves dog

Osi was attacked by an 8-foot gator near a retention pond Tuesday morning. After the incident, Buddy Ackermann, who was watching Osi for his daughter, took this photo of the dog next to an alligator warning sign. (Courtesy of Buddy Ackerman)
Osi was attacked by an 8-foot gator near a retention pond Tuesday morning. After the incident, Buddy Ackermann, who was watching Osi for his daughter, took this photo of the dog next to an alligator warning sign. (Courtesy of Buddy Ackerman)
Published Jul. 16, 2019

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 dprevost@tampabay.com. Follow @dprevost1.