Gator kills service dog, but state law prohibits pet owner from killing the gator

How far would you go to protect your pet?
Posted at 11:03 PM, Jul 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-18 14:49:22-04

Rob Lineberger knows living on the water, he's likely to run into a gator, but he never expected one would attack his service dog.

“I can't blame the gator, he's only doing what it knows how to do," said Lineberger.

His service dog, named Precious, was snatched up by a gator as they were walking along a dock in Labelle, Fl.

“She was with me for seven years,” said Lineberger. “When I couldn't get up she would help me get up.”

Precious got in between Lineberger and the gator, saving his life.

Wildlife officials didn't remove the gator because it attacked a pet and not a human. Under Florida law, Lineberger isn't permitted to kill the gator on the grounds of self defense, unless it attacked his pet on private property.

“Pets are family members - that it's illegal to destroy [a gator]- I’m just gonna be in jail, "said Lineberger.

He relies on a service dog because he was hurt while fighting in Afghanistan during the Desert Storm operation.

“I had a humble flip on top of me and I was pinned under it for 6.5 hours," said Lineberger. 

He now lives with Precious's daughter, Shelby.

“I’m glad I got her daughter," said Lineberger.

He says whether the law is on his side or not, if another gator tries to attack his pet, he's going to protect his dog the way precious protected him.

“For our government to tell me I can't protect her? I’m willing to take the consequences," said Lineberger.