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Alligators ‘aggressive’ this season; second local dog attacked

When a tiny Yorkshire Terrier was rushed to Clint Moore Animal Hospital on Easter Sunday with deep gashes on her chest and back, Dr. Lindsay Butzer recognized the wounds immediately.

“My first thought was, ‘This is another alligator attack,’ ” said Butzer, a veterinarian at the Boca Raton clinic.

Lilly, the 6-year-old dog, was running near a lake in the back yard of her Boca Raton home on Sunday when an alligator crept up and bit her, according to Butzer and a GoFundMe page started by Lilly’s owner, Anthony Monti.

“I am not sure how but somehow she was able to make it back to me while I was in my back yard,” Monti wrote on the crowd-funding page, which has garnered more than $2,300 in donations toward Lilly’s medical bills.

Butzer was surprised the pup survived. But then again, it was the second time she’d seen it happen.

A 1 1/2-year-old Labrador retriever-Dachshund mix named Sable was attacked by an alligator in late February at West Delray Regional Park and rushed to Clint Moore Animal Hospital. Sable managed to free herself from the gator and survived the attack.

The wounds were nearly identical to those Butzer saw on Lilly, she said.

“I never thought we’d get another one,” Butzer said. “But it’s alligator mating season. The alligators are more aggressive and protective around their nests.”

Those are the only two attacks in the area in recent years, Butzer said, but it isn’t surprising when dogs roam free in South Florida. In both cases, the dogs were wandering near lakes virtually unsupervised.

“These alligators are getting a bad rep,” she said. “It’s not really their fault. It’s their home too.”

Lilly underwent three hours of surgery, and will need about about a month to recover. An alligator tooth ripped through her back and chest, even exposing backbone in some areas, Butzer said.

Butzer and her colleagues have warned dog owners, and offered tips to prevent future gator attacks.

Gators like to sunbathe during the hottest hours of the day, so avoid lakes and canals during those times, she said. And never let your dog roam without a leash unless the area is fenced off.

“We’ve kind of advise people not to keep their dogs around lakes in general,” Butzer said.

Lilly left the hospital Thursday morning with several staples, Monti wrote on the GoFundMe page. But they’re watching closely for infections.

Said Monti: “It really is an Easter miracle she survived.”

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