BARTOW, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – A man claims an alligator ate his dog so he wanted revenge.

Two teenagers pulled a man out of the water after he tried to wrestle an alligator.

“I don’t know what was going through his head because I would never even attempt a thing like that,” Daniel Butler, 18, told WTVT. “I just can’t believe he actually tried to wrestle a gator.”

Butler and his friend Ryan Stromsnes, 16, saw Matthew Pope, 29, jump in the water and attacked the alligator.

Pope told the teens that the alligator ate his dog.

“He tried to grab the gator by its snout and that’s when the gator got upset and broke free from his grip and proceeded to bite the man in the right arm,” Butler told the station.

“The gator dragged him under and he was gone for a few seconds,” Butler added. “He came up screaming.”

The two teenagers jumped in and helped.

“I was just freaking out and jumped in and then grabbed it by its tail, that’s the first thing I saw,” Stromsnes told WTVT.

The two were able to help Pope out of the water but his arm needed medical attention.

“We called 911,” Stromsnes added.  “I used this belt as a tourniquet to help stop the bleeding and things like that.”

Pope was rushed to the hospital.  There is no word on his current condition.

It turns out Pope may not have had a dog.

“We heard later he probably didn’t have a dog,” Stromsnes said.  “He was just trying to get the gator.”

Officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation trapped and killed the alligator.


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