PALM HARBOR., Fla. (WFLA) – Authorities are investigating after an alligator attacked a Florida woman while she was walking her dog.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the reptile bit the 43-year-old victim Tuesday evening in Palm Harbor.

FWC says the woman was walking her dog on a leash along a small lake when the gator attacked. A FWC-contracted nuisance alligator trapper was dispatched to the lake to locate and trap the 7-foot animal.

One neighbor was surprised at the attack.

“When I rolled up here … that alligator went right towards all of the police officers so it’s really obvious somebody was feeding that alligator and that’s not cool and that’s why the lady got bit today,” Gregg Brotman said.

Another resident said that kids had been taunting the gator with sticks, and perhaps it was trying to protect a nest.

The woman was taken to a nearby hospital where she is being treated for injuries to her lower right leg. Deputies did not say how severe the woman’s injuries are.

FWC says serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida. FWC’s response to alligator bite incidents is to remove the alligator involved using sound methods and taking only those alligators needed to resolve the risk to public safety. 

According to FWC, relocating nuisance alligators is not a feasible option for people or alligators. Relocated alligators nearly always try to return to their capture site. In the process of returning, they can create problems for people or other alligators along the way.