Pit Bull Dies Saving Kids From Aggressive Snake

by : Lucy Connolly on : 27 Sep 2019 14:25
Pitbull dies from snake bite Pitbull dies from snake bite FOX 35

An eight-month old pit bull has died after protecting two children from a venomous snake in their garden.


The dog, Zeus, had been standing next to the two youngest members of the Richardson family outside their home in Sumter County, Florida, on Monday (September 23) when the incident occurred.

As the coral snake approached the boys, who hadn’t seen the animal coming, Zeus leapt into action and defended his family from the snake – but tragically got bitten in the process.

The child’s father, Gary Richardson, has since spoken out about the incident:


Gary’s two sons were in their garden cleaning the dog’s water dish when the snake approached, seemingly out of nowhere.

The father told FOX 35:

All of a sudden, he started attacking the snake which was close to my son and he was bit four times. I knew when he first came in that something was wrong and (it) was very traumatic because I knew he was dying.

The family rushed Zeus to a vet in Ocala, and initially believed their pet was going to get better – with Gary saying ‘We just knew the antivenom was going to work.’

Tragically though, the pup died the next day as a result of the injuries he had sustained in the unexpected attack. Coral snakes are highly venomous, and have the second-strongest venom of any snake.

Family says goodbye to pit bull who saved them from snake biteFamily says goodbye to pit bull who saved them from snake biteFOX 35

As per petMD, a coral bite can result in paralysis – including paralysis of the breathing muscles – with the primary cause of death being respiratory collapse.

Symptoms in animals include salivation/drooling, shortness of breath, inability to bark, diarrhoea, and convulsions – although the onset of these symptoms may be delayed by up to 18 hours after your pet was bitten. Taking your animal to the vet immediately after they get bitten is therefore paramount.


Despite rushing Zeus to the vets though, the pit bull didn’t make it. Gina Richardson, who described him as a ‘member of the family’, said his death ‘just killed us’. They had only had the pup since he was born in January, and since then, the bond between the dog and the family had only grown.

Gary said:

Pitbulls are the most loyal dog I know of, and I’ve had a lot of different animals in my life.

Zeus the dog dies from snake biteZeus the dog dies from snake biteFOX 35

His wife Gina agrees, saying if you find a pit bull that’s aggressive, it’s most likely because they haven’t been treated right. ‘If you treat them right, they would give their life for you and I owe my son’s life to him,’ she added.

Through their grief, the family are just thankful for Zeus’ loyalty and for his protective ways.

Rest in peace, Zeus.

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Animals, America, Dogs, Florida, Life, Pitbull, Snakes


FOX 35 and 1 other
  1. FOX 35

    Pit bull dies after protecting young children from snake bite

  2. Petmd

    Coral Snake Bite Poisoning in Dogs