Elderly Florida woman fatally attacked by alligator
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: An 85-year-old Florida woman was attacked and killed by an alligator while walking her dog.
The heartbroken family of an 85-year-old woman who was dragged into a pond and killed by a deadly alligator is suing the retirement village where the horrific incident took place, claiming the owners knew the gator was living in the water and failed to remove it.
Gloria Serge was near a retention pond behind her house in Fort Pierce, Florida, on Feb. 20, 2023, when the 10-foot-long beast crawled out of the water and first tried to attack her dog, according to chilling CCTV footage.
The surveillance footage shows the reptile swimming in a direct path toward Serge’s dog before it rises out of the water and scampers up the embankment in pursuit of the animal. The octogenarian was taken to the ground with the alligator biting her feet, and then she was dragged into the water.
FLORIDA GATOR RESPONSIBLE FOR KILLING ELDERLY WOMAN ATTEMPTED TO ATTACK DOG, THEN HER FOOT
Bill Serge, the victim’s son, announced the lawsuit against Spanish Lakes Fairways at a news conference with his attorneys on Friday.
“One year ago, I received a phone call that every son dreads,” he said, according to CBS12.
“I never could have imagined the agonizing way that my mother spent the last moments of her life. No child should have to bury their mom under such horrible circumstances. This was a tragedy that was 100% preventable.”
The suit claims Wynne Building Corporation, which owns and operates Spanish Lakes Fairways, was negligent in that the owners knew the gator was lurking in the pond and failed to remove it or put up warning signs to notify people it was there.
The predator was so well-known that residents nicknamed it “Henry,” the attorneys from Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith, PLLC, a West Palm Beach firm said, according to CBS12.
Attorneys Gary Lesser and managing partner Joshua Ferraro also claimed the owners could have prevented the tragedy by enforcing rules on feeding wildlife.
An alligator in Florida that is responsible for killing an elderly woman first attempted to attack her dog, according to a state agency. (St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office)
FLORIDA FAMILY FINDS NEARLY 11-FOOT ALLIGATOR IN POOL
“If Spanish Lakes had taken any, any measure of common sense, of reasonable action, Gloria would be here today with her five children, her fifteen grandchildren and her nine great-grandchildren,” Lesser remarked.
The attorneys also claim that Gloria Serge was forced to walk her canines by the lake because the neighborhood has strict rules forbidding animals to be walked in the streets.
“Spanish Lakes is one of these communities that has a rule: you can’t walk your dog in the streets of your community,” Lesser said.
“In fact, Gloria was given a violation and eviction warning for walking her small dog in the front yard of her house.”
WPEC reported that its crew did not observe any signs warning people to look out for gators on Friday, but did notice multiple signs telling residents they can’t walk their dogs in the street.
Fox News Digital reached out to Wynne Building Corporation for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
The elderly woman was taken to the ground by the alligator biting her feet before she was dragged into the water. (St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office)
The alligator was trapped and killed by a nuisance gator trapper. Serge’s dog survived the attack.
Days after the tragedy, the Spanish Lakes Fairways homeowners association in St. Lucie removed three more alligators from the neighborhood, although it wasn’t clear if the alligators were removed from the same pond where the woman tragically died, the Gainesville Sun reported.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) says alligator attacks against people are considered rare as they typically do not attack people unless provoked. Alligators can become aggressive during mating season or to protect their nests, the FWC says.
Alligators live in all 67 counties in Florida and can be found in practically all fresh and brackish water bodies and occasionally in salt water. Although exact population figures are not known, Florida has a healthy and stable population of about 1.3 million alligators of every size, according to the FWC.
From 1948 to 2022, 453 unprovoked bite incidents occurred in Florida, 26 of which resulted in human fatalities, the FWC states.
Fox News’ Greg Norman and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission captured the 10-foot-long alligator. (St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office / LOCAL NEWS X /TMX)
Michael Dorgan is a writer for Fox News Digital and Fox Business.
You can send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @M_Dorgan.