West Palm Beach, Fla. – A Florida woman’s family has filed a lawsuit against the owner of a housing complex after she was tragically killed by an alligator while walking her dog in her backyard. The family of 85-year-old Gloria Serge claims that employees of the Spanish Lakes senior housing complex in Fort Pierce regularly fed the alligator, known as “Henry,” and failed to have it removed from the neighborhood retention pond.
The attorneys representing Serge’s family, Gary Lesser and Joshua Ferraro, held a press conference to announce the lawsuit against the Wynne Building Corp., which owns the housing complex. They alleged that the employees’ actions of feeding the alligator with chicken and other food diminished its fear of humans and that they neglected to call the state hotline to have potentially dangerous alligators removed. Furthermore, the attorneys claim that Spanish Lakes threatened to evict Serge if she walked her dog on the street, which forced her to walk in her backyard next to the pond.
The lawsuit also alleges that the company failed to warn residents about the presence of alligators and went on to install docks and waterside benches, giving the impression that the reptiles posed no significant threat. Gary Lesser emphasized that this incident could have been avoided if Spanish Lakes had taken any reasonable measures to ensure the safety of its residents.
Bill Serge, Gloria Serge’s son, expressed the emotional devastation that he and his siblings have experienced as a result of their mother’s tragic death. He described the sudden and violent nature of the attack, stating that it has resulted in a whole different level of grief.
As of now, neither Wynne nor Spanish Lakes officials have responded to requests for comment. The lawsuit, which was filed in state court, seeks unspecified damages for the family.
While fatal alligator attacks in Florida are rare, they have become increasingly concerning due to human encroachment on their habitat. According to the latest statistics from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there have been 453 alligator attacks in the state between 1948 and 2022, with 26 of them resulting in fatalities. The spokesperson for the commission, Lauren Claerbout, emphasized the illegality and danger of feeding alligators, as it causes them to lose their natural wariness and associate humans with a source of food.
A security video obtained by the TV show “Inside Edition” captured the tragic incident. It shows Gloria Serge and her dog, Trooper, standing near the water’s edge when the alligator swiftly approaches and lunges at them. While Trooper manages to escape, the alligator grabs Serge, dragging her into the water. Witnesses recount their desperate attempts to save her, but unfortunately, it was too late.
Serge’s body was eventually recovered, and the alligator responsible for the attack was trapped and euthanized. Bill Serge spoke of the pain his family has endured and emphasized that no one should have to go through what his mother experienced on that fateful day.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing, and the family’s lawsuit seeks justice for Gloria Serge’s untimely death. The Associated Press owns the copyright to this article, and any unauthorized usage, including publication, broadcasting, rewriting, or redistribution, is strictly prohibited.