Stephany Pineda, Will Ubario and their 4-month-old son of Plantation, Florida, have two French bulldogs they love dearly. Like many dogs, the two Frenchies enjoy chasing after iguanas and running around in their yard — but on June 8, that went very wrong.
Pineda was first alerted to the fact that something was wrong when she heard her mother screaming.
She went outside to see their dogs down at the fenceline near the water. While their yard is completely fenced in with a chain-link fence, their yard butts up to a canal that houses alligators.
As she approached, she saw that their 2-year-old dog, Gloria, was being attacked by a 7.5-foot alligator. The large reptile had clamped down on the dog’s head, which had gone under the chainlink fence and was on the outside of the yard, while the rest of the dog remained inside the yard.
A dog caught in the jaws of an alligator is alive thanks to a woman who was nearby to make a stunning save. https://t.co/1bXqx660dI
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) June 10, 2022
Pineda, who is normally even terrified by smaller creepy crawlies like iguanas and roaches, lost her fear and went into fight mode, pulling at her dog’s legs and screaming at the alligator to let go.
“I started screaming like crazy, ‘It’s killing her!’” Pineda told WTJV.
“I was just … like grabbing her, and I thought that the head was, you know…” she added, according to WSVN. “I came screaming, she’s dead, she’s gone, she’s eating her.”
“I can’t remember, like everything went silent in my head and, and I grabbed her but I screamed so loud and my mom was screaming so loud that she let go.”
After retrieving her dog from the alligator, Gloria was found to be mostly unharmed, with just a few bite marks on top of her head — amazing, considering the size and potential force of the gator she’d been attacked by.
No one else was injured in the spat, and the other dog — who briefly got under the fence and foolishly tried to attack the gator — was safely retrieved as well. The husband and wife believe that recent heavy rains compromised the back section of the fence, which is why there was enough of a gap for the gator to grab the dog.
Pineda’s husband, Will Ubario, was impressed that his wife had the gumption to go after the big lizard.
“All I heard from her was, ‘The gator, the baby, the dogs,’ and, and so I freaked out, and when I got here she … told me, ‘I saved the dog. I took the dog out of the gator’s mouth,’” he said.
“Not only did she do that, but I have two Frenchies, and the other one had gotten out underneath the fence, barking at the alligator. She grabbed and went outside of the fence to grab the other dog.”
“It’s surprising just because she is scared of a lot of stuff so whenever she said ‘I got the dog out of the gator’s mouth’ I was just like ‘You did what?’” he continued. “She just didn’t think, she just reacted … those are those moments that they could be good or bad.”
Trappers were called in to remove the alligator, which had continued to lurk around nearby. They used a device that sounds like a barking dog to lure the alligator, captured it and took it to an animal sanctuary.
While that particular pest has been removed, there are plenty more ready to take its place. The family has considered moving, but for now they’ll be fixing the fence, keeping their dogs leashed in their backyard and being extra careful not to get close to any other alligators.
“They got the gator Wednesday and there’s another one already today,” Ubario said, “so it’s going to be a neverending issue that us Floridians … have to deal with.”
“Every night I keep having flashbacks thinking that I, you know, I could’ve fallen, I’m just afraid, I feel like we’re in danger, but I understand that this is their home as well,” Pineda said.