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Florida neighbors concerned after crocodile killed pet dog

By Scott Heidler

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    SATELLITE BEACH, Florida (WESH) — On Monday, a crocodile killed a pet dog in the waterways of a Satellite Beach community, raising concern for some neighbors, like Jon Appling, whose backyard is bordered by water.

“We have definitely changed the way we act outside now. Looking over your shoulder, so to speak. It could have been my grandson and my puppy up on the grass up right there,” Appling said, pointing to his dog, Zoe, on his lawn that meets the Grand Canal.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was called in after the incident, and agents searched but did not find the crocodile. They are monitoring the situation.

But with crocodiles outgrowing their traditional habitat in South Florida, many more are making a home and being seen in Brevard, joining the abundant gator population.

“It’s increased the amount of individuals, which causes some displacement. And that may cause these crocodiles to venture up north a bit more frequently,” Mack Ralbovsky, a herpetology specialist at the Brevard Zoo, said.

“I’m not looking to eradicate anything, because I don’t kill things myself. But I think they can move them,” Appling said.

There’s similar advice in staying safe around crocodiles as there is for gators: Don’t approach or feed them. The danger increases when they recognize humans as a food source.

Some in the community where the attack took place feel that more can be done so that people know how to protect themselves as the crocodile population grows.

“If we had some type of local classes, maybe at city hall, to school people on how to set your yard up,” Appling said.

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