The 69-year-old woman, who has not been named, was found dead in the Spanish Wells community of Hilton Head Island, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.
The woman was found at the edge of a lagoon bordering a golf course. An alligator appeared to be guarding the woman, interrupting emergency rescue efforts, the sheriff’s office said.
The alligator was safely removed and the woman’s body was recovered. An autopsy is pending.
The dog was found safe, said Major Angela Viens, a sheriff's office spokesperson.
This is the second fatal alligator attack in Beaufort County in the past year, sheriff's officials said. An 88-year-old Sun City woman was attacked by an alligator at a lagoon near her home in August 2022.