• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:46am
Hong Kong snake encounters
NewsHong Kong

Pet dog crushed to death by python in second attack in two weeks

Owners advised to keep pets on leash as five-metre-long snake attacks dog in second such incident in Sai Kung countryside in two weeks

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 May, 2014, 5:07am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 June, 2014, 10:55am

A pet dog has been crushed to death in front of its owner and her two young children in the second attack by a huge python in Sai Kung West Country Park in less than a fortnight.

Katie Heyring told of how her family pet, Charlie, was killed by the five-metre-long snake as she was out walking near Pak Tam Chung with son Kaspar, five, and daughter Kaia, seven, and their four other dogs on Saturday.

Heyring, an art dealer from Britain, said they had tried to fight off the huge python by hitting it with a walking stick, but when she realised her dog had died, she was forced to leave it in the snake's grip and return home with her children, aged five and seven, and other dogs.

The incident comes a fortnight after a couple fought off a python that had attacked their dog in the same country park. The spot is also very close to where three other such attacks on dogs - one of them fatal - have occurred since 2006.

Now Heyring, 41, is urging dog owners not to let their pets off the leash while out walking in the countryside. She said she and her children and pets were 20 minutes down a path that forked off from the Family Trail when the python struck.

"It was massive … easily about five metres, because Charlie was a big dog of about 28kg," Heyring said. "It happened so quickly [within] a few seconds."

She said she hit the python with a walking stick, but the more she did so, the more the snake constricted around the dog.

"It was terrifying. The children were screaming and the other dogs were barking," she said.

"After about a minute, Charlie stopped squealing and I knew that was it … We are all very upset. Charlie was about 18 months old and a lovely dog."

Heyring, who has lived in Hong Kong for two years, said she later returned to the spot with police, but there was no sign of the python nor her dog.

"It was horrific to witness it and to feel so helpless," she said. "I had my husband's diving knife in the backpack because I had read about the previous snake attack, but the python was just colossal and I was so scared it would turn on the kids. My youngest is about Charlie's size."

Dave Willott, a snake catcher in Sai Kung, said the python that attacked Charlie could be the same snake behind the three previous attacks. He advised dog owners to keep their pets on the leash while out in the countryside as pythons were ambush predators that lay in wait for prey.

He also suggested keeping handy a small bottle of alcohol, which could be sprayed at or poured into the python's mouth or nose to make it loosen its grip.

An Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department spokesman yesterday said it had not received any report of the incident and that it would contact the dog owner for information.

There have been at least two reported python attacks in recent weeks. Pet owner Courtney Link saved her dog, which was bitten by a five-metre-long python, by stabbing the snake with a pocket knife.

In Quarry Bay, a Burmese python ended up on the promenade, much to residents' alarm, after torrential rains may have washed it down the hillsides. Non-venomous but with a powerful grip, the snake bit a handler in the leg as it was being taken away to a wildlife sanctuary last week.


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This article is now closed to comments

Whilst I feel sorry for this dog owner, the python is in its natural habitat doing what it does ... seek and capture food. People need to keep their dogs on a lead and be alert to the dangers when they enter the python's domain.
3 pages of comments and no one has blamed Mainlanders yet. I think that's a new record.
sad news about the poor animal
not a nice way to go
suggest send the exact co-ordinates of both attacks to the local Saikung Chinese restaurant owners before an inquisitive child becomes the next victim
What irresponsible dog-owners are these? Did they not hear about the previous attack on that lovely dog and the brave owner who had to stab the python with a knife to loosen its grip?
Dogs should be on a leash when out in public, in tiny and close-confined Hong Kong.
restaurant comment aside, the real message here is that this snake has now developed a taste for small dogs, and, as the writer correctly says - its a very short step, for the snake to develop a taste for small children.
This snake needs to be captured and destroyed - no different that what's done with repeat nuisance bears in Western Canada/USA.
Very sad to see such awful comments towards this lady in our community. Please give her a break. Horrible things happen and we don't all walk around taking every precaution under the sun every day. She did nothing wrong, it was just totally unfortunate. She will be grieving and beating herself up over it anyway, you don't need to add to it.
Racist pythons! Only attacking dogs owned by white women in HK. Surely there is some sort of conspiracy going on...
All dogs should be on leads all the time.
They are a huge nuisance and worry to innocent passers by.
When will any of these dog owners ever learn......no.......they just never do
More stupidity! I have three dogs and I know NOT to walk them in the country parks this time of the year! Snakes abound in Hong Kong and this is snake season! We keep our dogs closer to the house and get them out on the boat once a week so they can have a swim! Their is government warnings, signage and of course common sense, warning people to be vigilant this time of the year, but still, you get these supposed responsible dog owners, who let their dogs off the leash and then get surprised when mother nature gobbles up their beloved pet!
Rest in peace Charlie!



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