The owner of a dog attacked by an alligator in a Tampa park would like more signage to warn visitors about the danger.
Eve Morehead said her Labrador/Husky-mix dog, Blue Haze, was the victim of a gator attack Sunday night at Rowlett Park.
“She's just a really happy dog and she has a personality I have never ever seen," said Eve, crying.
Cell phone video shows Eve’s friend, Natasha Lee, collapse in tears moments after the attack. Natasha had been walking Haze on a leash, when the dog pulled away and ran after a bird in the water. The dog crossed to the other side of the river, and Natasha followed. That’s when Natasha felt the swish of a gator’s tail.
Eve couldn’t see Natasha from her location on the shore, but heard her yell for help. A witness called police.
Natasha said Haze was swimming toward her when the alligator grabbed the dog.
"Just barrel-rolled two times with Haze and then submerged in the water," she said.
Natasha had to be rescued by police using a throw rope. Eve's dog hasn't been found, and is presumed dead.
Both women are from Washington, and said they just didn't know the dangers of the water in Florida. They also didn't see a warning sign posted about the alligators.
“As an out-of-towner, I didn't see any signs as well as the social behavior of everybody in that park was very comfortable in that water," said Natasha.
Tampa resident Johnny Compton, frequents the park and witnessed the attack.
He along with the Natasha and Eve want to see more signage, and perhaps a barricade put up along the shore.
"If it can eat a dog, 75 to 80 pounds, what can he do to a child," said Compton.
"He was over 6 foot, he could've easily taken me,” said Natasha. “There is nothing we could have done about it and that's why we insist Haze saved my life."
Bay News 9 reached out to Tampa’s Parks & Recreation Department, and the Recreation Manager, John Allen, released the below statement:
“Currently, the City of Tampa has (2) 'beware of alligator' warning signs properly posted along the river which is clearly visible to the public. Additionally, the front entrance signage indicates 'pets must be put on a leash and cleaned up after.' Even though warnings signs are installed, there are potential risks along the Hillsborough River from its native wildlife. Our condolences goes out to the family for the loss of their pet Haze."
Eve said it’s a hard losing her dog, especially after they had their second dog, a puppy, stolen from their yard off Ogontz Ave recently. They hope whoever took the puppy, which is an 11-month-old lab/husky/pit bull mix, will have a heart and bring the puppy back.
Fish and wildlife officials said trappers looked for the gator involved in the attack Sunday night, but had no luck. They will not be continuing the search at this point.