NEW PORT RICHEY (FOX 13) - 'Crown' has a lot of achievements under his belt. He's a former race and rodeo horse. But now, his owner Mike Santo can add survivor to that list.
Wednesday afternoon, Crown took a dip in a New Port Richey pond to cool off. He was met by an alligator who attacked, leaving the 21-year old horse bloodied and mangled.
Santo said it was catastrophic. "There were teeth marks, claw marks, ripped skin."
He says it was unusual for two reasons: Alligators hunt at night, and their prey is much smaller.
"A gator will go to a calf, something small -- a dog a pig, that's not unusual," Santo said. "But to go to a thousand-pound animal, that's 16 hands high, that's a pretty big undertaking, even for a 10-foot alligator."
Santo and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are working to trap the alligator, which he believes preyed on his horse for one reason.
"That alligator came to that horse because it had been fed by somebody," Santo said. "Somebody has been feeding that alligator."
With Crown on the mend, he hopes the incident serves as a warning for others.
"There's an elementary school right over here, this could be a child. An alligator can go through a fence, under a fence, over a fence. It's mating season. Stop feeding alligators. They're not pets, they're wild animals."
If you'd like to help Crown's family, the Santo family have created a GoFundMe page.