Elderly woman killed by alligator in Florida: family sues complex

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News Team

The family of a Florida woman who tragically died after being attacked by an alligator last year has filed a lawsuit against the owner of the housing complex where the incident occurred. The family of Gloria Serge is suing Wynne Building Corp., the owner of the Spanish Lakes senior housing complex in Fort Pierce. Serge, an 85-year-old widow, was attacked and drowned by a 10-foot alligator while walking her dog near a pond on the complex’s property.

The lawsuit alleges that employees of the housing complex fed the alligator, which residents had nicknamed ‘Henry,’ and failed to keep it away from the residential area. The family’s lawyers claim that the employees routinely fed the alligator chicken and other foods, which decreased its fear of humans. They also allege that the employees never called the state hotline responsible for removing potentially dangerous alligators.

Additionally, the lawsuit states that Spanish Lakes threatened to evict Serge from the building if she walked her dog on the street inside the complex, which led her to walk her dog near the pond where the alligator lived. The family argues that the company did not warn residents about the danger of alligators and even installed docks and benches next to the pond, leading residents to believe that the reptiles did not pose a serious threat.

Wynne Building Corporation President Joel Wynne expressed understanding for the family’s tragedy but also stated that alligators are inherently dangerous animals. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages of $50,000.

Alligator attacks in Florida are rare, despite the state being home to over a million alligators. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, there have been 453 alligator attacks in the state between 1948 and 2022, with 26 of them being fatal. The commission warns against feeding alligators, as it can cause them to lose their natural wariness and associate people with the availability of food, leading to dangerous circumstances.

The tragic incident involving Gloria Serge serves as a reminder of the importance of respecting wildlife and taking precautions to ensure the safety of both humans and animals. It also highlights the need for property owners and managers to take responsibility for maintaining a safe environment for residents and wildlife alike.

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