An Aussie dog owner says he doesn't regret saving a tiger snake that killed his 18-month-old puppy. Brent Taylor and his partner are heartbroken following the loss of their French bulldog Knox after a distressing encounter on Saturday.
"I was in bed and heard screaming," the 32-year-old man told Yahoo News Australia. "My sister had taken Knox and another dog out the back to the toilet when the three of them crossed paths with the snake. The Frenchie was startled, as was the snake, and in a matter of seconds, Knox had been bitten."
Knox was given antivenin at a nearby vet, and while his heart and breathing were fine, he was vomiting and shaking. Not long after, he had a seizure. "He was given anaesthesia to essentially put him into a coma and rushed to the Geelong emergency vets, where he could be put on a ventilator," explained Brent.
The dog was monitored overnight and by Sunday morning he was awake and breathing on his own. However, he was displaying signs of brain damage. "His pupils were different sizes, he could barely lift his head, he couldn't really stand up or move and he wasn't responsive to sounds or movement either. He just wasn't the same anymore," Brent said.
'Wasn't the snake's fault'
For Brent and his partner, it was time to say goodbye to their pup. But he holds no ill will to the snake that inflicted the deadly bite. "It wasn't the snake's fault," he said. "Ninety-nine per cent of people have said I should have killed the snake but I don't agree. Snakes only have one form of defence and it happens to be a deadly one. It's part of life in Australia that it's a present risk to our pets."
While Brent and his partner mourn Knox, they've been left with huge medical costs for the dog's care. They've now set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the vet bill, which has climbed to $10,000.
Tiger snakes highly defensive
Jack Gatto, the owner of Bellarine and Surfcoast Snake Catching, answered Brent's call for help and removed the tiger snake. Jack explained it was the dog who ran up to the snake and struck first, revealing that a pet has been the aggressor in "every single call-out" he's been to that involved a cat or dog.
But the fifth most venomous snake on the planet doesn't hold back when threatened. "They're really defensive and aren't reluctant to bite and will defend themselves quite readily," Jack explained.
Snake catcher's warning
While the snake was left with two puncture wounds to its belly, they were deemed superficial and as it wasn't showing any signs of injury, Jack released it into the wild. He's now urging pet owners to keep a close eye on their pets, especially as the weather heats up.
"We live in Australia so assume that if it's a warm day, there's a possibility of a snake getting into the backyard," Jack said. "It's not like you have to live your life in fear of snakes being everywhere, but I think it's really important that we educate ourselves on how to behave around snakes and how to minimise interactions with snakes."
He also advised keeping the number of a local snake catcher in your phone, just in case.
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