The distraught family of an 85-year-old lady who was killed by a deadly alligator after being pulled into a pond is suing the retirement community where the terrible event occurred, alleging the owners were aware that the gator was present in the water but chose not to remove it.
On February 20, 2023, Gloria Serge was in the vicinity of a retention pond behind her Fort Pierce, Florida, home when the terrifying CCTV film showed the 10-foot-long creature emerge from the water and attempt to attack her dog.
According to the lawsuit filed on January 25, the alligator seized her foot and pulled her into the neighboring retention pond, where it drowned her and disfigured her corpse.
Gloria Serge’s body was removed from the water by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which informed that the authorities had responded to several emergency calls placed by witnesses.
Gloria Serge’s son Bill Serge said in a statement that he received the phone call that all sons fear exactly one year ago. He also mentioned the passing of his mother Gloria, a lovely, lively, and robust woman.
According to Bill Serge, he could never have predicted the excruciating way his mother spent her final moments on this planet.
According to an attorney for the family, the neighborhood called this specific alligator Henry since it was frequently spotted around the retention pond’s edge.
On behalf of the family, the law firm Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC started the lawsuit on Thursday morning, alleging that the retirement community was responsible for the woman’s death since they were aware of the alligators but neglected to notify the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to have the gator removed.
The lawsuit also stated that Spanish Lakes Fairways had breached its duty of reasonable care by allowing its employees and residents to walk close to and feed the wildlife in the retention pond, among other things.
The woman’s family’s attorneys claimed in the lawsuit that although the defendant was aware that there were alligators on the property, it did not take reasonable action to remove the dangerous condition and, by allowing employees and residents to regularly interact with the alligators, actually increased the risk of the situation.
He continued by saying that the defendant did not inform the locals, including Ms. Serge, of the alligators’ presence or the risks they posed.
That left her with two options: either walk her dog in the backyard or take it to a dog walk area that was almost a mile away, which the attorneys claimed wasn’t practical.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, alligators are a “fundamental part” of the state’s lakes, swamps, rivers, and wetlands and can be found in all 67 counties of Florida.
Lawyers Gary Lesser and handling partner Joshua Ferraro further asserted that by following regulations on feeding wildlife, the owners could have avoided the catastrophe.
Lesser observed that Gloria, along with her five children, fifteen grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren, would still be here today if Spanish Lakes had exercised even a small amount of common sense and reason.
The lawyers further assert that due to severe neighborhood regulations prohibiting the walking of animals on the streets, Gloria Serge was compelled to walk her dogs beside the lake.
Mrs. Serge Was The Only Individual Attacked By Alligator Of Community
Gloria Serge was the only resident to be attacked by an alligator since the Wynne Building Corporation created the community 37 years ago, according to Joel Wynne, the company’s president, who spoke with McClatchy News on January 26.
Wynne stated that they could relate to Mrs. Serge’s family’s sorrow and emotions. But he also mentioned that Mrs. Serge had lived there for a long time and was aware of the existence of alligators, which are naturally dangerous animals.
Gloria’s family is requesting more than $50,000 in damages in the case.