MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A woman was bitten by an alligator while she was walking her dog on Tuesday. It happened in Palm Harbor, Florida just north of St. Petersburg.

The woman was walking her dog on a leash near a small lake when the alligator lunged at her.

Gene Vance said he was walking nearby when he saw the alligator go after her dog. “It looked like the gator tried to get the dog but she grabbed the dog real quick. She slipped down and the gator got her leg, just underneath her leg,” he said.

Vance was first to call 911 as the woman’s boyfriend rushed in to help. “He took off his pants to make a tourniquet – that’s how bad it was – to stop the blood,” he said.

The victim was rushed to an area hospital.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which is investigating, called a nuisance alligator trapper to the scene. The trapper removed the 7-foot-7 alligator.

It’s rare for people to be seriously hurt by gators in Florida, but it does happen. The Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) handles complaints about specific gators that people believe pose direct threats to themselves, pets or property. The toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline, which is managed by FWC, can be reached at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).

The FWC said you should be especially cautious walking around the water at dawn and dusk, that’s when alligators are most active.