According to the Daily Mail, Andrew Epp,36, was found dead inside of his home last Saturday after his chocolate Labrador Retriever, Java, was mauled to death by an alligator at Dog Leg Park. The Palmetto resident suffered from mental health issues and developed a bond with Java. He was walking the dog on May 17 when Java became loose from his leash and ran towards a marsh. Moments later, Java was attacked by the alligator.
A witness said they saw Epp covered in blood with Java hanging off of his shoulder.
‘I can’t imagine the anguish that guy was in,’
Epp reportedly begged to be admitted into a local hospital since he could not handle Java’s sudden death but hospital staff ‘turned [him] away and told that, because Epp wasn’t vocalizing that he wanted to hurt himself, the earliest he could even see a doctor was August 2019′.
There were no details on how long Epp had Java as a service animal but he was known as a ‘beautiful, gentle soul’ who ‘loved the outdoors, fishing, camping, horticulture and animals’. The alligator has been captured by local authorities.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for funeral services.