Alligator kills woman trying to protect her dog at elite resort

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — A woman trying to protect her dog was killed by an alligator who pulled her into a lagoon at a private South Carolina resort Monday, authorities said.

Cassandra Cline, 45, of Hilton Head Island, was walking the dog along a residential area of Sea Pines Resort when she was attacked, state and local officials said. The 8-foot (2.5-meter) alligator was later found and euthanized, Sam Chappalear of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources told The Island Packet newspaper .

“It appears the alligator went after her dog and she tried to protect it,” Chappalear said.

The dog was unharmed.

Blake Smith, 34, was leaving his house this morning when he saw police cars and firetrucks in the neighborhood.

“I waited for about 30 minutes, then I started hearing rumors about what happened down the road from here,” Smith told the newspaper. “It’s odd because this is the first time we’ve heard about an aggressive alligator around a human in the five years that we’ve been living here.”

Smith said that at times, alligators have been spotted in yards or pools, but Sea Pines quickly removed those animals.

“They do a good job. This is just a sad incident,” he said. “I have a young son, so it’s kind of concerning to see something like this could happen.”

Sea Pines said in a statement that it’s working with authorities “to ensure necessary access to the site while the investigation is underway.”