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Man Jumps Into Pond to Wrestle 8-Month-Old Puppy from Jaws of Alligator

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Florida man. Alligator. Dog.

The story almost writes itself — but this time the Florida man’s actions are more heroic than they are questionable, and the alligator ended up the real loser.

On Tuesday morning, Mike McCoy and his 8-month-old chocolate Labrador Retriever, Jake, were out for a walk. The area they were going through was behind a middle school in Holiday, Florida, near a pond.

Someone was waiting for them: A 7-foot-long alligator lunged at Jake and took him down. Almost as quickly, McCoy lunged after the attacker.

“I didn’t see it, but I knew it because of the death cry,” McCoy told WNCN-TV. “So that was it … gotta get him. And I did, thank you Jesus.”


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“No second thoughts. Can’t. You don’t have time. It’s a parent instinct. But I’m glad I have it because I wouldn’t have him.”

“No hesitation,” he added to WFTS-TV. “It’s just the way it is.”

Thankfully, McCoy had done his research and knew just how to fight the giant reptile that was threatening to take his dog’s life.

“I previously read up on my environment and gators,” McCoy said. “I got around, thumbed him in the eye … picked him out of the water so he couldn’t get anywhere until he let the dog go.

“And in the interim he decided, ‘Well, OK, I don’t have him, I’ll bite you.’”

As all this was going on, teacher Kellie Mallon happened to look out the window of the school and was confronted with the very unusual sight.

“It was kind of like a snake darting really fast,” she said of the alligator when it attacked Jake. “It was super fast.”


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Once Jake and McCoy were out of the alligator’s grasp, school nurse Shelly Churchill was able to give them a look-over. It was certainly an unusual one for her.

“It’s not often you get a gator call,” Churchill said.

While both man and dog ended up needing stitches, they walked away from the attack with their lives, a fact that was not lost on McCoy.

“We could have came out a heck of a lot worse,” he said. “I mean, I have no tendon damage [or] broken bones. He has no broken bones or punctures to his vitals.”

In fact, he sees the altercation as part of a bigger plan to rid the school of a nearby danger. After the attack, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission set traps for the alligator, and by Thursday they’d caught and removed it.

“I think we were put there for a reason,” McCoy said. “So maybe God wanted me there with him so, problem resolved?”

As for the energetic pup, he doesn’t seem to have let the scare get to him.

“He’s on the mend,” McCoy said. “He’s full of spit and vinegar today.”

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she’s strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.

As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn’t really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she’s had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children’s books with her husband, Edward.


Austin, Texas

Languages Spoken

English und ein bißchen Deutsch

Topics of Expertise

Faith, Animals, Cooking

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