RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A dog owner is sharing her story after her puppy was bitten by a copperhead snake at Umstead State Park.
Owner Kelly Vanderlaske said it happened Saturday morning over Labor Day weekend. She took her dog Rocco on a walk at the Company Mill trail.
“Even though I work in the vet field, my brain kind of left and I ran into a little bit of a panic mode. I’ve had dogs before, but I’ve never had an experience like this,” Vanderlaske said.
She said she saw three copperheads during her walk that morning and it was third snake that she didn’t see that attacked her dog’s front right paw.
“He was walking directly in front of me and I can’t believe I didn’t see it but they are so camouflaged right on the side of the trail,” Vanderlaske said.
She believes Rocco stepped on the snake’s head.
“He yelped a lot and then he wouldn’t put his paw down, which is why I knew it was the front paw,” she said.
The trail that morning was packed with people. Rocco and Vanderlaske were about two miles into their walk when the bite happened. She notified other walkers on their way out of the trail. Half of the people with dogs turned around and left the park, she said.
Brittany Ender with the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine said we are in the middle of snake season and that the copperhead is the most common venomous snake that we see in this area.
They are most active during the cool mornings and nights.
“And they tend to be found in areas where there’s a lot of brush or places where they can kind of blend in and hide. That’s why it is important for you as a dog owner to keep out as you’re walking out along the trails,” Ender said.
She said if you see a snake, try to redirect your dog and pull them away.
“The most common places that we see dogs get bit are on the face and on the front paws because they are typically the ones typically pursuing that snake, most of the time out of curiosity,” Ender said.
Rocco’s owner took a picture to identify the snake so the vet clinic could treat him properly. He is healing well and getting back to his normal self.
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