Two teenagers were hanging out at the shore in a Mulberry, Fla., park, about 50 miles east of Tampa, when they came across a man determined to destroy an alligator that he said had eaten his dog.

Before they could stop him, 29-year-old Matthew Pope was in the water, grabbing the gator by the snout. He didn't keep the upper hand for long, though: The gator bit him in the arm and dragged him underwater for a few seconds.

"He came up screaming," 18-year-old Daniel Butler told Tampa Bay's Fox 13 news.


Butler's friend, Ryan Stromsnes, 16, then jumped into the water and grabbed the angry alligator's tail. Butler followed him in and, between the two of them, they scared the animal away from the injured Pope.

After strapping a belt around Pope's damaged arm to stem the bleeding, they called 911. The would-be alligator wrestler was transported to the hospital, and his condition is currently unknown.

"We heard later he probably didn't have a dog. He was just trying to get the gator," Stromsnes told Fox 13.