PARRISH, Fla. – A man died by suicide after his service dog was eaten by an alligator last week in Manatee County, Florida, WFLA reports.
Andrew Epp died Saturday, just one day after his dog Java was killed by an alligator near a dog park that sits close to Buffalo Creek.
The dog park is located near wetlands and the attack reportedly happened after Java got loose while outside the fence around Dog Leg Park. On Friday, the Bradenton Herald reported that signs have been put up to warn dog owners and others in the area.
Buffalo Creek, is also the site of a golf course which has made headlines over the years thanks to numerous sightings of gators, including one slow-moving, 15-foot beast known to locals as “Chubbs.”
A gator trapper was sent to the area, but nothing has since been caught, according to WFLA.
Epp’s family said they wanted him to see a mental health professional immediately after Java’s death; he was told the earliest he could get an appointment was August.
A GoFundMe has been set up to cover Epp’s funeral costs.