Alligator preying on pets captured

Morris News Service
An 8-foot-long, 180-pound alligator was wrestled into submission by crew members of Critter Management in Bluffton, S.C. The alligator was preying on community pets.

BLUFFTON, S.C. - An 8-foot-long alligator was captured and killed this week after it ate a dog and frightened a coastal Carolina neighborhood. The gator had preyed on the community's pets for more than a week.

"This was definitely an aggressive alligator," said Billy Karijanian of a company called Critter Management Inc., which helped capture and subdue the reptile.

A Critter Management team began hunting the alligator after it attacked another dog last week. That pooch escaped, and the alligator went into hiding.

However, a beagle mix wasn't so lucky. The alligator snatched Truffles from a yard Monday and dragged the pet dog into a nearby lagoon. That prompted the Critter Management crew members to return.

On Tuesday, the gator again was spotted in a lagoon along the back of Pine Ridge Drive. Critter Management owner Joe Maffo and employee Mark Stever wrestled the 180-pound animal into submission, bound its legs behind its back and duct-taped its mouth shut.

It was hauled away, Mr. Karijanian said. The dog's remains were found inside the alligator.

Heath Duncan, the president of the local property owners association, said many residents are relieved. Several had mentioned the alligator's aggressive behavior over the past two weeks, he said. Instead of naturally moving away from people, it advanced on them and made them nervous.

"The three residents I've seen were very concerned," he said. "We have a number of children and pets here."