A 4-year-old puppy that was narrowly rescued from the jaws of an alligator has been honoured as ‘deputy dog’ by Florida Sheriff.
Gunner, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, was made a Safety and Security Officer for Deputy Dogs after he was locked in the jaws of an alligator and its owner Richard Wilbanks saved him. The pet parent pulled the dog safely out of the pond from his family’s backyard in Lee County, Florida last month.
Gunner was honoured by Lee County’s Sheriff’s Office on December 8 in a ceremony after showing ‘tenacity’ against the alligator, reports ABC 7 reported.
Mr Wilbanks, while talking to ABC 7, said that Gunner got locked in alligator’s jaws while they were out on a walk together and it prompted him to fight the alligator. In conversation with the media, Wilbanks said that they were out on a Sunday morning strolling by a pond when suddenly, he heard Gunner yell.
After he looked around, he saw that an alligator swimming around the pond with him. “I just jumped in the water and caught up with the alligator, got my hands on him and drug him to the bank and pinned him down and pried his jaws open,” Wilbanks said further describing how he saved his pet.
In another interview with CNN, he said that the alligator came out of the water like a missile and his adrenaline just kicked in and he automatically jumped in water. Because of Wilbanks’ quick reaction, Gunner suffered from only one puncture wound on his belly, but Wilbanks’s hands got injured badly and were treated.
While in the honouring ceremony, Lee County Carmine Marceno asked Gunner, “Do you swear to uphold the constitutional law for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Gunner?"
Marceno also asked him, “This is a big day. You are going to be a detective now, okay?” Gunner gave a sheriff a kiss on the nose before receiving the honorary badge.
Now, a recruit for Deputy Dogs Pets on Patrol, a program which recruits pets and owners to serve as community lookout while out on their daily walks.
It encourages pet owners to look out for any suspicious activity while they are out on walks with their pets and also required to report any case of animal abuse and help the sheriff to prevent it.
Sherrif’s office took to Facebook to announce the news and shared the ceremony’s video. The 1-minute clip has received more than 6500 likes and more than 500 comments.