This 50 lb. Keeshond was eaten by an alligator on Saturday in Sarasota.
Sarasota, Florida-- A Sarasota family is warning the entire Tampa Bay area after their 50 lb. Keeshond was eaten by an alligator.
It happened as Darryl Mizer took him out to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
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"I still can't believe what I saw and as big as this alligator must have been," Mizer explained.
Mizer says he noticed what appeared to be a log in the water come right up next to the dog, but he quickly realized it wasn't a log.
"There was a squeal or two, the alligator shook him, and he was gone," Mizer described.
Mizer says he and his wife have seen gators in the Huntington Pointe community's lakes before, but never right near the edge.
"We've seen them get birds and other things," he said.
An alligator warning has been posted on the community's bulletin board, but in a neighborhood where small dogs and young children are easy to find, there's plenty of concern.
"Parents have to play in the front yard, because you can't go in the backyard because you don't know if the gators are there or not," said neighbor Pam Garruppo.
Garruppo says the same thing happened to her in the past at a house in North Port.
"I had a little Shih Tzu and one minute it was there and the next minute he was gone," she said.
Trappers have set up bait in several spots near the lakes, hoping the gator takes it before pulling in another pet.
"I would tell pet owners and parents of children to stay away from lakes no matter how innocent they look," Mizer advised.
Florida Fish and Wildlife says dog attacks are not that uncommon because alligators look at them as normal prey.
Last year alone, FWC removed more than 7,000 gators from Florida communities.
Do you walk your pet or kids near alligator areas? Join a discussion on MomsLikeMe.com.
Adam Freeman, 10 News