Grandmother ‘heartbroken’ after dog allegedly eaten by alligator at Florida park

Sue Fortenbery, 62, said her one-year-old dog, Bolt, was snatched and killed by an alligator in Joe's Creek Greenway Park in Pinellas County, Florida, on Aug, 7, 2016.

(ABC NEWS) — A 62-year-old grandmother is heartbroken after she said an alligator snatched and killed her beloved dog Bolt at Joe’s Creek Greenway Park in Pinellas County this past weekend.

Sue Fortenbery, of St. Petersburg, Florida, told ABC News the “traumatizing” incident happened on Sunday evening when she and her grandson took out her four dogs for a sunset walk in the park.

Her 1-year-old Jack Russell terrier Bolt had “caught sight of a bunny and slipped out of his collar to chase it down,” she explained. “The bunny went under a hole under a fence near the water, and he just went right in after it.”

That’s when Fortenbery’s grandson screamed, “Memaw! The gator’s got him!” she said.

“I can’t stop hearing that scream and then the yelping from my dog when the gator got him,” Fortenbery told ABC News through tears. “I will never go back to that park again.”

The 62-year-old grandmother said she was “heartbroken and horrified” and that she misses her “wonder dog” Bolt, who was named after the super dog in the Disney movie of the same name.

“A park ranger just told me they were going to monitor the area, but isn’t one life killed enough?” Fortenbery said. “What do they need? Another Disney World incident to happen here?”

In June, a 2-year-old boy from Nebraska was snatched and killed by a gator at a man-made lake at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Walt Disney World, according to authorities.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

“These gators are like rats; we just don’t need ’em,” Fortenbery said. “Gators shouldn’t be in the middle of a city. I don’t want someone else’s pet — or even worse, their child — to be killed. We need to take care of this now.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission told ABC News in a statement today that it could “dispatch a contracted nuisance alligator expert” if the FWC “receives a request from the property’s managing authority.”

However, the county “does not have enough information to give to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to identify the alligator for removal,” according to the Pinellas County’s marketing and communications department.

The county’s marketing and communications department told ABC News in a statement that when the “incident was originally reported to Pinellas County park staff, no description of the alligator was provided.”

“The county will be closely monitoring the park for alligators exhibiting nuisance behavior,” the statement said. “Alligators are among numerous types of wildlife routinely observed at Joe’s Creek. There is signage indicating the presence of alligators and other wildlife at the entrance to the park.”

The statement added, “Pinellas County manages numerous parks with fresh water bodies where wildlife can be found and most of them do not have any fences or other barriers. The fence around Joe’s Creek Greenway Park is built to a uniform height, but variation in the landscape, including erosion, make gaps along the bottom of the fence possible.”

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