PALM HARBOR., Fla. (WFLA) – Authorities are investigating an alligator attack in Pinellas County.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, an alligator attacked a 43-year-old woman Tuesday evening on Pine Ridge Boulevard off of Commercial Drive in Palm Harbor.

FWC says the woman was bitten by an alligator while walking her dog on a leash along a small lake. An FWC-contracted nuisance alligator trapper was dispatched to the lake and were able to locate and trap the 7-foot long alligator.

At least one neighbor 8 On Your Side spoke with was surprised.

“When I rolled up here and I walked up here that alligator went right towards all of the police officers so it’s really obvious somebody was feeding that alligator and that’s not cool and that’s why the lady got bit today,” Gregg Brotman said.

Another resident told us that kids had been taunting the gator with sticks — and perhaps it was trying to protect a nest.

“You know as an adult walking by the water, you’re not seen as bait.  But anybody walking a small dog or even a midsize dog like that, you’re waiting for trouble,” James Dowler said.

The woman was taken to a nearby hospital after the attack where she is being treated for injuries to her lower right leg. Deputies did not say how severe the woman’s injuries are.

FWC says serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida. FWC’s response to alligator bite incidents is to remove the alligator involved using sound methods and taking only those alligators needed to resolve the risk to public safety. 

According to FWC, relocating nuisance alligators is not a feasible option for people or alligators. Relocated alligators nearly always try to return to their capture site. In the process of returning, they can create problems for people or other alligators along the way.  

People with concerns about an alligator should call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR.