A woman was attacked and killed by an alligator as she walked her pet dog near a golf course.
The 69-year-old woman was walking near a lagoon that borders a golf course in South Carolina when the large reptile appeared and attacked the woman on Tuesday morning.
First responders found her unresponsive, then later pronounced her dead.
The alligator that attacked her was “guarding” her when they arrived to the Hilton Head Island resort at 9:30am, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office said.
“Rescue efforts were made and an alligator appeared and was guarding the woman, interrupting emergency efforts,” the sheriff’s office said. “The gator was safely removed from the area and the woman’s body was recovered.”
The Beaufort County Coroner’s Office is set to perform an autopsy on the woman.
It’s unclear what happened to her dog.
Biologists from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources responded to the incident, the organisation said in a tweet.
This was also the second fatal alligator attack in Beaufort County in the past year.
On August 15, an 88-year-old woman was attacked by one of the large reptiles on a walk near a lagoon by her home in Sun City.
Community members were quick to express their opinions on the attack in the comments section of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department Facebook post — a post that garnered nearly 300 reactions and almost 200 shares.
“Very sad outcome, walking any dog near a lagoon or alligator habitat is absolutely not advisable. I don’t walk my dogs behind my place for this exact reason. Fences are not needed, making better decisions and understanding their habitat is a must,” wrote Alan Thomas.
“People choose to live near the water near wildlife, it’s a chance that they take the animals shouldn’t be punished for the human behavior and choice,” echoed Blanca Mendez.
“Way too many gators there, but they’re only doing what is natural to them, people need to stay away from all the lagoons. People need to change their behavior and leave these animals and/ or reptiles alone,” said Angel Drew-Tubbs.
It seemed to be a common theme that commenters blamed the woman for her poor choice of walking route despite the tragedy that occurred. They were quick to defend the animal and criticise area residents for feeding the large reptiles.
Donna Capps Antonopoulos took a different stance, however.
“Some of you are already blaming this poor woman for simply walking her dog. It’s clear that we are seeing more alligators and that they are very aggressive this year in particular,” she wrote. “Funny when some one is attacked by a shark you never read poor shark. So why are we always reading about the poor alligator? I’m all for respecting nature and wild life but come on -human life trumps the life of a reptile.”
The authorities are continuing to investigate the incident. It’s unclear whether the alligator will be pursued and killed.
This article by Jeremiah Hassel was first published by The Mirror on 4 July 2023. Lead Image: The alligator allegedly stuck around to “guard” the woman, said the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office ( Image: Getty Images).
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