Large alligator spotted in the river at John Hutto Park in Newton

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DOTHAN, AL (WTVY) What started out as a typical day at John Hutto Park in Newtown, quickly turned tragic for Tim Hefler.

“Fifteen seconds later and I heard yipping and yelling and heavy splashing,” recounted Hefler.

Last Friday Hefler’s 75-lb. Siberian Husky named Scrappy was walking on the bank of the Choctawhatchee River when it was grabbed by an alligator.

“I ran through the woods and busted out of the clearing just in time to see Scrappy’s face being pulled under the water.”

The dog did not survive the attack.

“There was no way I could save her, I just knew it.”

Hefler estimates the alligator to be 10-feet in size. He’s reported the incident to the Dale County game warden.

“I’ve been here many times and I’ve seen several families – young families, old families, children – swimming in the water.

Hefler says awareness is key. He wants signs posted warning of the hidden dangers.

“That 75 pound dog could have easily just have been a toddler or child.”

Hefler says he doesn’t want anyone to go through what he has.

“We’d like at least her pink collar back if anyone finds it.”

He hopes Scrappy’s story will help others stay on guard for gators while at the park.

Efforts to reach the Dale County game warden were unsuccessful due to the Labor Day holiday. Meanwhile, Hefler will be speaking to the Newton City Council Tuesday night about the incident.

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