Over week ago, Maiya, an eight year old Shiba Inu, was attacked by an alligator. The attack happened at a pond near her home in Fleming Island, Florida.
Shibas are known escape artists, and Maiya managed to get out of her house. One of her humans, Daniel Less, realized something was very wrong when he leard a loud noise coming from outside. He rushed to the pond and pulled his dog to safety, but the damage had been done.
Her veterinarian, Dr. Michelle Sands, said that this is one of the most dire situations she’s ever seen. She told News 4 Jax:
There’s a lot of trauma. She didn’t want to eat. She had whole body trauma at the end of her tail area.
The trauma from the attack isn’t the worst thing Maiya is facing – a flesh eating bacteria has taken up residence in her wounds and is ravaging her body.
Dr. Sands explained:
It’s resistant to everything at this point, so we’re going to have to do some research into human medicine and see what we can use.
Doctors have performed several surgeries, as well as blood and plasma transfusions. She also has to spend time in a hyperbaric chamber. She will also require skin grafts and reconstructive surgery.
If she recovers, it will take months. Her medical costs are expected to be astronomical. Her family has set up a GoFundMe to help offset the costs.
Alligator attacks on both humans and dogs are on the rise and for those who live in states like Florida, protecting furry family members is becoming increasingly difficult.
Melissa Sargeant, a fellow Shiba owner who lives a few miles from the Lees, said that dog owners are often hindered by HOA policies that do not allow safety measures that could save lives.
She told me:
Gators are in a lot of neighborhoods in the south. Most subdivisions don’t allow privacy or chain link fencing for retention pond facing homes…there is literally no way to protect your pups except to always be with them on a lead, away from the ponds. And people don’t realize how fast and stealthy gators can be.
She elaborated to say that HOAs are mainly concerned with appearances:
In the last [place] I lived in, if your property was in the retention pond you could only have 3′ open slatted fencing. I guess to prevent blocking the view of the pond. And for those who don’t know the ponds are man made flood control area. With the encroachment of man into the gator environment, [gators] have moved into the ponds.
If you live in areas with alligators, it is a good idea to keep your pup leashed at all times. However, things happen, and dogs do escape their yards and homes, as in the case of Maiya.
Protective fencing would go a long way to protect dogs. Petitioning your local HOA to take precautions and change their bylaws is may be the solution to a problem that is likely only going to get worse.
Everyone at Bark & Co. sends their best wishes to Maiya. You can donate to her medical care via GoFundMe.