Elderly Woman Fatally Attacked by Alligator While Walking Dog Near Florida Pond: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed

Fort Pierce, Florida – Gloria Serge, an 85-year-old woman described as healthy, strong, and vibrant by her son, met a tragic end when she was attacked and killed by an alligator while walking her dog near the pond behind her home. The incident occurred in the Spanish Lakes Fairways community, where Serge had been a long-term resident for nearly 30 years. The formidable alligator, measuring 10 feet in length and weighing 700 pounds, struck when Serge was in her backyard near a retention pond and dragged her lifeless body into the water.

Bill Serge, Gloria’s son, expressed his disbelief and agony, stating, “I never could’ve imagined the agonizing way my mother spent the final minutes of her life. The sudden, violent nature of this attack, thinking about my mom in her final moments, resulted in a whole different level of all-consuming grief.” In response to the tragic incident, attorneys from Lesser, Lesser, Landing and Smith have filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Gloria’s estate against Wynne Building Corporation, the owner of Spanish Lakes Fairways and four other communities in south Florida.

Gary Lesser, one of the attorneys involved in the lawsuit, held Spanish Lakes responsible for their alleged negligence. It is claimed that Spanish Lakes was aware of the presence of the alligator but neglected to inform and protect its residents. Lesser further added, “Residents and community staff fed this alligator. Our investigation found that residents and staff fed the alligator chicken and other food from their lunch on a regular basis.” The frequent sightings of the alligator earned it the nickname “Henry” among the community members. Surprisingly, no warning signs were placed around the water, nor was there any mention of the alligator in the community’s weekly newsletter.

The lawsuit also sheds light on the community rules that prohibited Gloria Serge from walking her dog in an area that was not designated for pets. As a result, she had no choice but to walk her dog near the lake behind her house, leading to the eviction warning she received in January 2020 for walking Trooper off her property. Joshua Ferraro, another attorney representing the Serge family, emphasized, “Being evicted wasn’t really an option for this 85-year-old woman.”

According to the Serge family’s attorneys, the alligator that attacked and killed Gloria qualified as a nuisance under Florida’s SNAP Program. This program permits licensed trappers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to remove alligators that are longer than 10 feet and considered dangerous. In response to the allegations, Alec Wynne, a representative of the Wynne Building Corporation, stated that they could not provide further comment as they had not yet received the lawsuit. However, a statement from Joel Wynne, the President of Wynne Building Corporation, released after the incident, expressed sadness and shock over the accident and mentioned the corporation’s past efforts to remove reported dangerous alligators.

The tragic incident serves as a reminder of the rare but existing encounters with alligators in Florida. Spanish Lakes Fairways, a community that has been in existence for over 50 years, claims that no resident has ever been harmed until now. The thoughts of the building corporation and its president are with Gloria Serge’s family and friends during this difficult time.

[Conclude the article by summarizing the key points and providing a sense of closure in AP News Style.]