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  • Aug 22, 2014
  • Updated: 9:08am
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

Replace neighbors with owners
The owners who let their dogs roam the islands should be arrested
Have their dogs confiscated
And banned for life from ever owning a dog in Hong Kong
Makes me feel sick!
Wow, the trolls really are out in force at the moment! Firstly, we all take risks. We all know the dangers of red minibuses, UK city centres at the weekend, driving, etc., but we calculate the chances and do it anyway. We can't live our lives taking precautions for every possible event, if we did we'd become super paranoid. I also don't see how a leash would have made much difference either, unless the leash was some high-tech electrified device. Pythons don't assess if a dog's on leash or not, they just hear a mammal and strike. The dog could have been on the main path when the snake attacked so a leash would have made no difference.
Secondly, to the person who suggested putting snakes on Bowen Road to kill other dogs and the person that suggested the woman may have been trying to rid herself of one of her kids, I suggest you grow up and keep your pathetic comments to yourself. A classic case of keyboard warriors who wouldn't have the guts to say any of this to the lady's or another dog owner's face.
Also, to the comment about keeping dog's on leash because they scare people; well, in HK many people are terrified of dogs, germs, mainlanders and even bicycles, so I'm not really prepared to live my life accommodating the fears people have here as I'd never leave my house. It doesn't help when someone sees a dog and freezes, stares at the dog, freaks out, and then starts screaming. Then they wonder why the dog barks at them.
You fail to understand where I live ( on one island) there are so many collared aggressive dogs roaming the streets
I have young kids and cannot let them out alone to play for fear of been mauled by these collared animals. It's a dogs life I suppose.
The paths on this island are covered in dog poo
Do you ever wonder why people are sick of these dogs and their ignorant selfish neighbors
It's really pathetic
I am astounded to read that the dog owner hit the python with a stick when the python was five metre-long. Was not that risky? Pythons are able to constrict a human being and then swallow, which might have been the consequence.
The mother was absolutely correct to look after her kids first.
Here the story from last summer
August 2013 – Campbellton New Brunswick Canada
Preliminary autopsy results on two boys who were killed after an African rock python escaped its enclosure, show they died from asphyxiation, RCMP said.
The pathologist completed the autopsies on Noah and Connor Barthe on Tuesday.
"At least right now we have a cause of death." RCMP Sgt. Alain Tremblay told CBC News.
“The boys 4 and 6 years old, may have had scents of possible food sources, on their hands”, he said.
The python, which was 4.3 metres long and weighed about 45 kilograms, fell through the ceiling and into the room where the two boys were sleeping.
Tremblay said in a statement that police are aware the case has "touched the hearts of people across the world" and that people are eager to know how the deaths could have happened.
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.
mdap- I know of three dogs who have drowned in these waters. Please be more responsible and follow your own advice.
Thanks for your advice, the dogs swim off the back of the Sunseeker and are always in the water with us, never alone - but I appreciate your comments.
That's great to hear.
3 pages of comments and no one has blamed Mainlanders yet. I think that's a new record.




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