A woman walker grappled with a 4.5-metre Burmese python to save her pet dog from being crushed in the second such attack by a giant snake in 14 months. Catherine Leonard, 41, kicked and punched the snake after it wrapped itself around her 20kg pet dog Poppy on a walking trail close to the entrance to Sai Kung Country Park. The attack took place near the spot where a 22kg husky was crushed to death despite its owner's attempts to free it in July of last year. Ms Leonard, a co-ordinator of amateur athletic races, said she feared young children could be at risk unless the python was caught. She was walking Poppy and two other dogs on a trail just off the Pak Tam Chung family walk last Sunday when the python struck at Poppy. It bit Poppy and coiled itself around her. Ms Leonard, on hearing a yelping that was 'like a scream', dashed to free the four-year-old dog, kicking and grappling with the snake as one of her other dogs barked at the attacker. 'I'm not sure exactly what I did but I kicked it and I tried to pull Poppy free. The snake was twisted around her, that was the problem,' she said. 'Somehow Poppy managed to get away and the python slithered away. It was all over in about a minute. 'I was very shaken afterwards and really scared. If I'd had the chance to think about it, I wouldn't have done what I did, but I heard the dog in distress and I just waded in there.' Warning signs were posted by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department after the incident last year. Snake catcher Dave Willott, who searched for the python after last Sunday's attack without success, said: 'Catherine was very courageous and definitely saved her dog's life. It would have been unconscious within two minutes and dead within five. 'The snake probably thought, 'I've had enough of this' and let go, which was unusual. They usually don't let go, not when they've locked onto their prey. They are used to their prey fighting back, so if they are attacked when they're in a feeding frenzy, they coil around tighter.' Mr Willott, who captures snakes and releases them in safer areas, said: 'You can't be certain that it is the same python that killed the husky last year. It could well be and possibly is, but I am sure there is more than one big python in that area.' Burmese pythons can grow to about 6 metres long and weigh up to 90kg. They often ambush prey by lying in wait at water holes or by hanging from trees. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said it was unaware of last Sunday's incident, although police were called out following the event. A spokeswoman said: 'We advise the hiker concerned to provide us with further information, so that appropriate measures can be considered by this department if necessary.'