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Exclusive: Barking dogs alert SW Miami-Dade property owner of 11-foot gator in backyard

Exclusive: Barking dogs alert SW Miami-Dade property owner of 11-foot gator in backyard
Exclusive: Barking dogs alert SW Miami-Dade property owner of 11-foot gator in backyard 03:00

MIAMI - Tim Nguyen says there were some tense moments Tuesday on his farm in Southwest Miami-Dade when his dogs started barking and alerted him to an 11-foot alligator in his backyard.

Nguyen shared cell phone video exclusively with CBS News Miami that he captured of the alligator that wildlife trapper Todd Hardwick said was 11 feet and 7 inches long and weighed 480 pounds.

Nguyen told CBS News Miami's Peter D'Oench that he had owned has owned his farm at S.W. 237 Ave. and 233rd St. for 6 years and had never seen anything like this before.

"I heard my dogs barking a lot," he said. "I went to see what was going on and they were barking a lot. An alligator was over there. I was just so nervous. And I was scared. I was very scared and I called 911 right away."

Miami-Dade Police responded along with veteran wildlife Trapper Todd Hardwick of Pesky Critters and removed the alligator. Hardwick said it would either be placed into captivity or harvested but could not be released into the wild as it would most likely return to where it was captured.

Hardwick said, "This is typical this time of year. This is a male alligator a little over 11 feet that got out of the canal last night and was looking maybe for geese or a meal and the ladies. This is a male alligator and there are 1.3 million of them in Florida. This is time of year when they move around a lot and their metabolism increases with the warmer weather and longer days."

He said, "More importantly they are looking for female gators and they are also fighting other males to get them out of their territory. Alligators are normally afraid and they will stay away from us but that changes when they get out of water and out of their element and they know everything is more dangerous because they are vulnerable when they get out of water. This is the time of year when you have to be aware of your surroundings. Any body of water can and will contain alligators at some time."

If you see an alligator on your property, give it some space and call the state's Nuisance Alligator hotline at 1-866-FWC-GATOR (392-4286) and a nuisance alligator trapper like Hardwick will be dispatched.

Hardwick says he has been doing this for 42 years and is gearing up for another busy season.

"This is not something you want to try on your own, trapping an alligator. It is illegal and extremely dangerous. After 42 years of found this, it is still dangerous."

Authorities say if you see an alligator, do not try to pet it or feed it and give it space. State law prohibits you from killing or harassing alligators.

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