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The man who managed to save his puppy from an alligator in Florida has spoken out about the ordeal, saying his hands got a little 'chewed up' in the scuffle.
Richard Willbanks was out with his dog Gunner near a swamp in Fort Myers when a juvenile alligator grabbed the pup and pulled him into the water.
Video footage shared online showed Willbanks, 74, wrestling with the alligator, prying open its jaws to free the three-month-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel - who can be heard yelping in pain.
Eventually, Gunner was able to runonto the grass to safety as his ownercontinued to wrestle the beast in the water.
After the clip went viral online, Willbanks has revealed that his pup is thankfully doing just fine after a trip to the vet, having suffered a puncture wound to his belly.
Recalling the hairy moment to CNN, Willbanks said: "We were just out walking by the pond, and it came out of the water like a missile.
"I never thought an alligator could be that fast. It was so quick."
He said adrenaline or instinct kicked in, and that he 'just automatically jumped into the water' to save the tiny pooch.
Willbanks said he managed to get out of the tussle with minor injuries.
"My hands were just chewed up," he said.
And if you're wondering how the strange scenario was caught on camera, it's because Willbanks was walking Gunner in a pond by his back yard - an area that is shared with the Florida Wildlife Federation and the fSTOP Foundation, which often capture footage of animals like deer.
Meredith Budd, Regional Policy Director of the Florida Wildlife Federation, said she found the video 'jarring', tellingABC: "We live on a shared landscape.
"We don't just want to tolerate wildlife, but, rather, we want to thrive with wildlife on a shared landscape."
Willbanks agrees with this sentiment, saying he doesn't want the alligator removed from the pond or destroyed.
"They're part of nature and part of our lives," he said.
While Willbanks still takes Gunne rout for a walk, now he keeps the dog on a lead... And 10 feet away from the pond's edge.
"Our pets, they're just like family to us," he added.
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