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Police: Sanibel landscaper bitten by gator

By Staff | Jul 30, 2009

A landscaper working at a Sanibel residence was bitten late Wednesday morning by a nearly 7-foot alligator, which professional trappers later caught and removed from the property.
According to an incident report issued by the Sanibel Police Department, 56-year-old Lauri Olin, owner of Wilson Landscape & Pond Co., was doing yard work at the home. She was in the process of pulling duck weed from a decorative freshwater pond when the alligator bit down on her right hand.
Olin kicked the alligator, which opened its mouth, allowing her to escape with lacerations to the palm of her hand and fingers. Her middle finger was also broken during the incident.
“We were working across the canal from her, and I could hear her scream … and that was over the sounds of the chipper and chain saws we had running, so it was pretty loud,” said John Henderson, one of Olin’s employees. “By the time we got over there, she was standing there holding her hand and said, ‘A gator just bit me.'”
Several of her co-workers brought Olin to HealthPark Hospital in Fort Myers to receive treatment for her injuries.
Although the puncture wounds on her hand were small, bites from alligators are considered to be highly infectious.
“I hope everything’s gonna be OK with her hand,” Henderson said. “I hope they cleaned it out real good.”
The attack occurred about 11:30 a.m. at 5206 Punta Caloosa Court, which borders the western portion of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
The refuge is home to approximately 300 alligators and a rare American crocodile.
Joanne Adams, spokesperson for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, reported that state trappers will destroy the 100-pound alligator, which measured 6 feet 7 inches in length.
According to the city’s Nuisance Alligator Program, an aggressive alligator of any length will be deemed a nuisance and will be captured for destruction. If the alligator is deemed a nuisance, a state trapper will be contacted to remove it.
An alligator that is determined to be a non-nuisance alligator — up to 4 feet in length — will be relocated to conservation areas only.
The policy also calls for relocation and/or destruction under the following conditions:
— Large alligators located in residential and commercial areas.
— Alligators that make residents feel unsafe.
— Large alligators located in high pedestrian traffic and public locations.
Special consideration should be given to alligator complaints and their proximity to children.
For the specifics of Sanibel’s Nuisance Alligator Program, visit: www.mysanibel.com.