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I PUNCHED GATOR TO SAVE MY PUP; Brave Mike tells of terrifying struggle with 6ft killer beast.

Byline: By DAVID LEIGH in Miami

A MAN saved his tiny puppy by wrestling it from the jaws of an alligator.

Mike Rubin feared the worst when he heard golden retriever Jasmine yelping and dashed to his back yard to find the 6ft beast ready to devour her.

He said: "My first thought after hearing the sounds was 'It's a gator'. That's what everyone is thinking about now but I just knew.

"The gator was flipping her over and killing her so I ran up and jumped on top of both of them."

Mike punched the huge reptile on the head but that did little to deter it.

And with six-month-old Jasmine's tiny head already locked in the gator's jaws Mike feared his pet was already dead.

He said: "I knew I had little chance, but it was kind of like, 'I'm not letting this gator have her'.

"At first I thought she had no chance when she wasn't moving.

"But I punched the gator about three or four times on top of its head and it started to release its grip."

Mike finally managed to yank Jasmine from the gator's mouth and the reptile gave up the fight. He said: "I just reacted. Maybe it wasn't the brightest thing to do but thank God, my dog is alive.

"When you love your animal sometimes you do crazy things."

Mike, 45, and his wife Noreen took their pet to Coral Springs Animal Hospital in Florida where Jasmine was treated for puncture wounds.

The dog also had cuts and bruises but was relatively unscathed considering her frightening ordeal.

Noreen added: "It just happened in a split second.

"Mike didn't think twice but I could have lost a dog and a husband."

Gator hysteria has swept Florida following the deaths of three women in less than a week.

Before the spate of attacks there had been only 17 recorded fatalities by alligators in the state in the past 58 years.

But the recent incidents are in part being put down to a massive increase in alligator numbers.

There is also concern that new developments are forcing them from their natural habitat.

news@irishmirror.ie

CAPTION(S):

PREDATOR: Alligator like d puppy its jaws' ESCAPE: Jasmine had cuts to her head' DESPERATE: Mike shows how he punched gator
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 31, 2006
Words:385
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