AUBURNDALE, Fla. (WFLA) – Wildlife officials are searching for an alligator that attacked and killed a dog in Polk County.

FWC officials say they received a report Thursday morning that a dog was taken by an alligator from a retention pond in Auburndale.

WFLA spoke with the dog’s owner, Cynthia Robinson. She says the alligator killed her dog “Tank.”

“It’s just me and my dog and now I’m lost,” Robinson said, through tears.

Robinson brought Tank to the park near Lake Mariana nearly every day.

Tank loved to swim.

(Courtesy Cynthia Robinson)

“It’s supposed to be a walk around. It’s supposed to not be dangerous,” said Robinson.

But Thursday morning, suddenly, she saw a massive alligator pull Tank into the water from behind.

She said it made her 100 pound pit bull look like a “Chihuahua.”

“My dog didn’t even know what happened to him. He had that look like, [he was] yelping. He was like ‘Help me mama,’ but I couldn’t do nothing,” said Robinson through tears.

The gator brought Tank to the surface one more time – a final glimpse for Robinson.

“He came back up and I [saw] my white dog in his mouth. He just like sat there with my dog in his mouth,” she said.

Pet owners are urged to be cautious.

Officials suggest dogs are always kept on leashes and, preferably, out of the water.

“A dog being low to the ground is going to look like prey splashing around in the water. That’s the tragic part,” said Gaye Sharpe, Polk County Parks and Natural Resources division director.

Florida Fish and Wildlife said serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida, despite a few reported attacks this summer.

The FWC is now working with the Polk County Parks and Natural Resources Division. A nuisance alligator trapper has been dispatched to try and find the gator.

“We are saddened to hear about the loss of a beloved family pet,” the FWC said in a statement.