SPARKS, NV (KRNV & Mynews4.com) - "Eight years. Her birthday was yesterday." Ed Brown broke down a few times as he talked about his dog Chelsea. Brown had been walking his two springer spaniels Chelsea and Chloe along the a trail at Gold Eagle Regional Park in Sparks on Sunday morning.
"She was off in the bushes like she usually does. I saw her jump," said Brown. Brown says he saw a pile of baby rattlesnakes about five feet from the trail and he knew Chelsea had been bitten. "She just came back over, laid down and collapsed. That was it."
Ed took Chelsea to Baring Boulevard Animal Hospital. Dr. Tony Luchetti says they had three snake bites last week. "We had four to five all last year," he said.
According to Chris Healy, Spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, they are expecting a larger snake population this year due to the dryer conditions we've seen. But, he reminds people it is that time of year and rattlesnakes are common. "If you're in Nevada you're in rattlesnake country, so there's your warning," said Healy.
Ed and his wife Cheryl say they have walked their dogs along this trail for a few years now. "It's a lovely trail, it was just a freak accident. But we don't want that accident to happen to anybody else," said Cheryl.
Dr. Luchetti says fortunately, Chelsea's was a rare case. "Most dogs that are bitten by rattlesnakes do survive." He says juvenile rattlesnakes are not able to control their venom, and that could have been the reason Chelsea did not make it.
Brown says he just wants people to be aware. "She was a great dog. But the biggest thing is that people are alerted. That's the last thing I ever expected," said Brown.
The Nevada Wildlife Federation and the German Short Haired Pointer Club of Reno hold rattlesnake avoidance training classes for dogs. You can follow the link on this page to find out more