Leon Co. dog owners wary after dog bitten by cottonmouth snake at dog park
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Dog park goers in Leon County are doing their best to avoid water moccasins, or cottonmouths, which have popped up at both the Bradfordville and Tom Brown dog parks.
After a dog was bit at the Bradfordville Dog Park, dog owners are doing what they can to protect their fur babies.
Due to the lack of rain and lowered water levels, including at the lake at the Bradfordville Dog Park, cottonmouth sightings and encounters have been more frequent.
Last week, a dog was bit by a water moccasin at the Bradforville Dog Park. The victim’s owner says her pup Duncan grabbed the snake and threw it in the air as she attempted to pick him up. She said that she knew it wouldn’t end well.
“I saw it fly through the air and I knew it was a cottonmouth. You can’t miss them. It was shocking,” said Duncan’s owner, Lizzie Ruse.
Ruse said Duncan is okay, and she was able to get anti-venom, but the poison was still able to spread and left him with some skin decay.
“It was a full week of just rotting, and rotting and rotting, and now his entire bottom part of his leg is just exposed bone,” describes Ruse.
Duncan is now set to have a skin graft procedure soon, a result that sends an unfortunate message to other dog owners.
“Because they kind of took a hit for everybody. We knew the snake was out there, we knew that it could happen at any time, but you know that you believe that’s it’s not going to happen to you,” explains Tallahassee resident Carol Kaye.
People like Kaye decided to go to Tom Brown’s Dog Park instead, but after hearing about sightings near some of the Tom Brown Park trails, it’s making these fur parents even more cautious.
“When it comes to here, I usually walk the trails for myself, and for my dogs to tire them out, but that’s not something that I want to risk doing, especially with small dogs because that sort of venom with them is intense,” said Tallahassee resident Madison Kemp.
Leon County Parks and Recreations officials said they have placed more signs to warn people of wildlife and asks for them to be a little more cautious.
“Again we are just asking people to be vigilant and know that they are there and again just enjoy our parks but just be aware,” said Leon County Parks and Recreations Director Amanda Heidecker.
Ruse says the support for her pup has been heroic and she truly appreciates it.
“Oh, it just makes me all shivery just thinking about it, I just can’t believe this dog community here. It’s just amazing,” added Ruse.
Heidecker told WCTV that the county has no plans to remove the snakes from their natural environment unless an emergency event gives them a reason to do so.
Ruse has started a GoFundMe to help pay for Duncan’s medical treatment as the price has risen to the thousands.
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