The household of an 85-year-old lady who was dragged right into a lake by a big alligator and drowned behind her dwelling in Florida has filed a wrongful loss of life lawsuit.

“One 12 months in the past, I obtained the telephone name that each son dreads. My mom, Gloria, a wholesome, vibrant and delightful lady was lifeless,” Invoice Serge, the son of Gloria Serge, mentioned in a press release.

“I by no means may have imagined the agonizing approach during which my mother spent her final minutes on this earth,” he mentioned.

When Gloria Serge was strolling her canine named Trooper at Spanish Lakes Fairways, a retirement group in Fort Pierce, a 10-foot-long, 700-pound alligator attacked her on Feb. 20, 2023, in response to a Jan. 25 information launch from Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith PLLC, the legislation agency representing her household.

It grabbed her foot and dragged her into the close by retention pond, the place it “disfigured her physique and drowned her,” the lawsuit filed Jan. 25 mentioned.

Gloria Serge’s physique was pulled from the water after authorities responded to a number of emergency calls dialed by witnesses, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee beforehand instructed the Miami Herald.

After the assault, the alligator was captured by a nuisance alligator trapper and euthanized the subsequent day, in response to FWC, the Miami Herald reported.

Gloria Serge’s household is suing actual property holding and administration firm Wynne Constructing Company, which owns and manages Spanish Lakes Fairways.

The lawsuit accuses the enterprise of negligence — together with by not warning residents of alligators — resulting in the lady’s loss of life

Joel Wynne, the president of Wynne Constructing Company, instructed McClatchy Information on Jan. 26 that Gloria Serge was the primary resident attacked by an alligator for the reason that firm developed the group 37 years in the past.

“We actually perceive the tragedy and the sentiments of Mrs. Serge’s household,” Wynne mentioned.

Nonetheless, he mentioned “Mrs. Serge was a longtime resident and positively knew of the presence of Alligators and that they had been inherently harmful animals.”

With the lawsuit, Gloria’s household is looking for greater than $50,000 in damages.

Invoice Serge mentioned his mom, who by no means discovered how you can swim, “drowned in essentially the most violent and terrifying approach attainable.”

Bill Serge stands next to a photo on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, in West Palm Beach, Fla. of his 85-year-old mother, Gloria Serge, who was killed in an alligator attack on Feb. 20, 2023.

Invoice Serge stands subsequent to a photograph on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, in West Palm Seaside, Fla. of his 85-year-old mom, Gloria Serge, who was killed in an alligator assault on Feb. 20, 2023.

“This might have been prevented — it ought to by no means have occurred — and God keen it can NEVER occur to anybody once more,” he mentioned.

Girl was ‘inspired, if not pressured’ to stroll close to water with alligators

Gloria Serge was a mom of 5 kids, a grandmother of 15 kids and great-grandmother of 9 kids, in response to her household’s attorneys.

Gloria Serge and her great grandchildren.

Gloria Serge and her nice grandchildren.

She moved into the Spanish Lakes Fairways group almost 30 years earlier than she died and owned one of many property’s properties for 21 years, in response to the lawsuit.

There, group residents and workers had been allowed to feed wildlife, together with alligators, the lawsuit mentioned.

Earlier than Gloria Serge’s loss of life, upkeep staff fed the alligator that killed her hen scraps and named it Henry, in response to the household’s attorneys.

Wynne Constructing Company knew a number of alligators “that met the definition of a nuisance” lived on the property however didn’t warn residents of the potential risks and didn’t have the reptiles eliminated, the lawsuit mentioned.

Nuisance alligators are no less than 4 ft lengthy and pose a potential threat, in response to FWC, which might ship nuisance trappers to take away them below these circumstances.

The alligator that killed Gloria met the company’s definition.

Gloria Serge was “inspired, if not pressured,” to stroll her small canine close to the water the place alligators had been, as she was threatened with eviction when she walked her pet elsewhere, in response to the lawsuit.

In January 2020, she obtained an eviction warning from Spanish Lakes Fairways over complaints about her strolling her canine in “non-approved areas,” a duplicate of the discover offered to McClatchy Information mentioned.

The property’s administration allowed different residents to stroll by the identical retention pond she was killed in, allowed residents to make use of non-motorized watercrafts within the pond and allowed fishing there — with out issuing warnings, in response to the lawsuit.

“There have been no indicators posted across the lake warning residents of the presence of an alligator, and the property managers inspired folks to take a seat close to the lake by putting a bench alongside the shoreline,” lawyer Gary S. Lesser mentioned in a press release.

“This flies within the face of frequent sense and warnings from wildlife consultants,” he added.

With the lawsuit, Gloria Serge’s household calls for a trial by jury.

“The truth of shedding our mother has actually began to set in,” Invoice Serge mentioned. “She has missed the start of three further nice grandchildren, and we’re trying ahead to 2 weddings the place mother received’t be with us. However it’s not the large occasions that may damage essentially the most…these are actually going to be exhausting.”

“She would speak to my sisters on the telephone daily simply to say hello — she would Facetime me on a regular basis — to inform me what was occurring within the neighborhood — or to inform me concerning the new pizza place she’d been to — she was simply merely part of our lives daily — and lacking this — realizing that it was fully pointless — that’s what actually hurts essentially the most,” he added.

FWC’s Nuisance Alligator Hotline will be reached by calling 866-392-4286.

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