Woman killed protecting dog from alligator attack was Upstate NY teacher

AP photo

Cassandra Cline, 45, had gone for a morning walk with her dog in the Sea Pines Resort Monday morning, authorities say.

An eight-foot alligator suddenly lunged for the border collie. Cline, authorities say tried to protect it, and the alligator attacked her.

The Press and Sun newspaper of Binghamton reports Monday evening that Cline was a kindergarten teacher for Union-Endicott schools.

Thomas DiMaio, who rents a house across the street from the scene of the attack, said he heard shrieks while he was in the shower but thought they were a bird. He went outside a half hour later to find a crowd gathering beside the road, where a bag of dog treats Cline had been carrying, one of her shoes and her hat dotted a trail leading to the water.

“It’s really sad,” said DiMaio, who often chatted with Cline as she walked her dog past the vacation home he’s rented for several weeks in the Sea Pines Resort. “She didn’t have any children. The dog was her child, I guess.”

“She was a very pleasant woman,” DiMaio said. “Very friendly.”

The 8-foot alligator was later found and killed, said David Lucas, a spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

“She was walking the dog near the lagoon and the alligator came out of the water and tried to get the dog,” Lucas said. “The lady tried to rescue the dog and a maintenance worker ran over to help.”

Both were trying to save the dog, but the alligator dragged the woman into the water, he said.

Click here for local coverage of the tragedy from South Carolina.

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