(WFLA/CNN) -- A Florida man was so upset after an alligator mauled his dog to death at a park that he took his own life.

Java was a service dog for 36-year-old Andrew Epp, who suffered mental health issues.

Epp was so distraught, his family says he took his own life the very next day.

"It was just such a sad situation, he couldn't deal with it,” family friend Kayla Weston said.

Now, fellow park-goers are stepping in to try to keep the same thing from happening to anybody else.

Sharil Dowling said it was an accident that was just waiting to happen.

“Most people, if they knew they were that close to marsh and gators, they wouldn't walk back there,” Dowling said.

She was at Dog Leg Park at Buffalo Creek last Friday when Java, a chocolate lab, got loose outside the fence.

The next thing she knew, she saw the lifeless dog slumped over a man's shoulders, covered in blood.

"I cannot imagine the anguish that guy was in, it was horrible,” she said.

In the five years resident Tim Todd has come to the dog park, he says he knows of at least three dogs eaten by alligators.

After Friday, he reached out to the county demanding they put up warning signs.

"Too late to do anything for that dog but what could we do to help other people?" Todd said.

Officials responded to residents’ requests and installed warning signs for snakes and alligators at the park earlier this week.

They also sent a trapper out to try to catch the alligator responsible for killing Java, but so far, it is still out there.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for funeral expenses for Andrew Epp. Click here to donate.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.