Cher­ished pet dies try­ing to pro­tect pint-sized pug pal

Geelong Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - OLIVIA SHYING

A DIS­TRAUGHT pet owner whose beloved dog was killed by a snake bite is call­ing on the pub­lic to be vig­i­lant.

Re­becca Hall says her dog Ruby, a golden re­triever cross labrador, died after be­ing bit­ten by a tiger snake while try­ing to pro­tect the fam­ily’s pug in their Highton back­yard on Fri­day.

Ms Hall, her hus­band and their three chil­dren re­turned home from din­ner when they went out­side to feed Ruby and their pug Chase.

The fam­ily called for Chase, who was wait­ing for them to re­turn, but could not find Ruby.

Even­tu­ally they found her ly­ing in the ken­nel with her head pok­ing out and re­alised she had died.

“We called Gee­long pet ser­vices and they told us to take her there straight away,” Ms Hall said.

The Halls — who had Ruby for close to 10 years — ini­tially thought she had died of old age. With the vet un­able to de­ter­mine Ruby’s ex­act cause of death, the fam­ily de­cided to go home.

“When we got home Si­enna, our old­est daugh­ter, wanted to bring Chase in­side to sleep with us,” Ms Hall said.

It was then Ms Hall no­ticed mul­ti­ple piles of vomit in dif­fer­ent places across the yard.

Con­cerned, Ms Hall went around the side of the house to see if there was any more signs of Ruby’s sick­ness and in­stead found a small tiger snake.

“We had never had this ex­pe­ri­ence … we were quite shaken up to find the snake in the back­yard,” Ms Hall said.

Ms Hall said the fam­ily con­firmed their fears that Ruby had been killed by the snake bite after view­ing CCTV footage of their yard.

She said the vi­sion showed Ruby try­ing to save Chase, who was star­tled by the snake, be­fore she was even­tu­ally bit­ten.

“About one hour and fif­teen min­utes after (the bite) she knew her time was up and went into her ken­nel,” she said.

“We have a man­i­cured gar­den and fake grass — I would never have ex­pected a snake to be in the yard.”

The fam­ily im­me­di­ately called Gee­long Snake Catcher Dar­ren Keiller who ar­rived within 20 min­utes to re­move the snake.

Mr Keiller said he had been called to about 40 in­ci­dents where dogs had died after be­ing bit­ten dur­ing his 20 years in the job.

“Usu­ally it takes about half an hour for a snake bite to kill a dog. It doesn’t mat­ter how much an­tivenene you give,” Mr Keiller said.

He said re­mov­ing an­i­mal food and wa­ter could de­ter snakes from en­ter­ing back­yards.

Ms Hall hoped that shar­ing her fam­ily’s heart­break­ing story would en­cour­age other par­ents to ed­u­cate their chil­dren about snakes and to re­main vig­i­lant in check­ing the yard.

“Ruby was ab­so­lutely gor­geous. She was very placid, very lov­ing. Chase and her did ev­ery­thing to­gether.”

“We had never had this ex­pe­ri­ence … we were quite shaken up to find the snake in the back­yard.” RE­BECCA HALL


SNAKE WARN­ING; Phoenix, 10, and As­ton, 4, and Si­enna, 11, with their pug puppy Chase mourn the loss of their other dog Ruby, who was bit­ten by a tiger snake.

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