City commissioner helps save dog attacked by gator in Lakeland

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — After Hurricane Irma hit the area, a Lakeland City Commissioner went through a terrifying ordeal.

An alligator attacked his neighbor’s dog, so City Commissioner Bill Read charged into the water to rescue it.

“The lab had no sooner entered the lake when I spotted a 10-foot alligator headed towards the lab. I began to yell, ‘Alligator! Alligator!,’” Commissioner Bill Read said.

Read tried to call the chocolate lab named Dixie back to shore, all the while moving towards the lake.

“I picked up a rock about the size of a baseball and a full red brick just in case as I moved towards the water,” Read said. “The gator went for that lab like a torpedo, with its mouth wide open, grabbed the dog in its mid-section of the body, and next thing you knew, they were under water.”

Read thought it was all over for Dixie but the dog popped up and began to swim towards the shore.

But it wasn’t over. The gator started to pursue the dog again. At this point, Read threw a rock at the gator striking it on its left side. The gator turned violently to the left and snapped at the projected object, causing it to slow down and allowing the dog to distance itself from the gator.

As the alligator slowed, Read threw a brick with as much force as he had, hitting it in the head.

“The gator made a violent move towards me, but hit a metal pole of the fence,” Read said.

That gave the lab time to get to shore.

“I had to take a moment to sit on our back porch to collect my composure,” Read said.

Dixie’s owners thanked him for saving her life. Dixie suffered a very deep cut on her right side and several puncture wounds on the other, but is doing ok. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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