VENICE, FL (WWSB) - "Their dogs were their kids, were their family," said Bonita Stagno, a friend of the owner of the dogs.
Stagno could hardly control her emotions.
The two German Shepherds were attacked by an alligator in a swampy area of Shamrock Park in Venice, FL.
The injuries to one of the dogs was so severe it had to be put to sleep. The other one remains missing and is presumed dead.
Stagno and her husband walk their dogs here frequently.
Stagno said she would dog-sit the canines once in a while.
"Dogs had their routine, they would jump in the water and this time they didn't come out," said Stagno.
One of the friends of the dog's owner met with an officer from the Florida Wildlife Commission and with members of the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office at the sight from where this alligator attack happened.
The attack occurred Friday night while the two dogs were running around off-leash in an area known as Alligator Creek, not far from the basketball court.
Gary Nodler was walking his dog near the area where this attack took place when we told him the news.
"I think it's a shame, I feel for bad for the owner, it's a real tragedy when you lose a dog," said Nodler. "They probably get curious for the gator and if you get too close to them then they could run pretty good."
Folks who use the park are being warned to be extra careful, and you are strongly urged to keep your dogs on leash at all times.
Venice resident Kaitlyn Plows was at the playground at Shamrock Park with her son. She was shocked to hear what happened.
"It's very scary," said Plows. "I mean I don't personally own dogs but for anybody who owns dogs is walking them around, obviously it's something you have to be aware of."
The alligator and the missing dog have yet to be located. FWC officials are working closely with Sarasota County to locate, capture and remove the alligator.
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