POWHATAN COUNTY, Va. (WRIC)–It was a scary moment for one pet owner this weekend after her dog was bitten by a venomous snake.

Samantha Cale, who lives in Powhatan, said her dog came inside the house with a bite on her face.

“She’s actually spitting up blood and was like frothing at her nose,” she said. “Then she started breathing really, really heavy and became kind of still.”

Cale’s son took their pet for a walk in the backyard Friday night.

When the dog jumped up and started whining, Cale’s son spotted a snake slithering away.

“It was pretty scary. My kids freaked out,” she said.

Cale noticed a bite on the dog’s top lip and inside her bottom lip. She took her to the Veterinary Referral and Critical Care.

“A lot of emotions going on at one time, but we’re grateful it’s not as bad as it could’ve been,” she said.

Virginia Wildlife Management and Control, a company that specializes in wildlife removal, said snake bite season is from March to October statewide.

This year, the company has been really busy. Richard Perry with Virginia Wildlife Management and Control, said they’ve been responding to more calls for snake removal ahead of the season.

Copperhead snakes. Photo credit: Virginia Wildlife Management and Control

“When we started getting calls in January or December, we knew that we were in for an exceptionally bad year,” he said.

Perry’s team trapped and removed 12 copperheads from one farm in Mechanicsville last week.

The same day, they removed another Copperhead from a man’s yard in Mechanicsville.

Perry added that Copperheads are mostly found in Central Virginia. A majority of Copperheads are spotted in Brandermill, Woodlake and Wyndham in Short Pump.

Every year, the company responds to about 250 to 350 calls to remove venomous snakes. They also get up to 250 pictures of snakes sent to their hotline, so people can try to identify what snake is near them.

Cale said her veterinarian told her they’ve been busy this season, too.

“When I took Bella to VRCC, she was actually the fifth copperhead snakebite they’ve seen that day,” she said.

If a venomous snake bites your pet, doctors say to immediately take them to the emergency vet for treatment.

Meanwhile, Cale and her family are going to be more cautious before heading back outside.

“I think we’re just going to keep our eyes open. I’m going to keep my grass cut low for the rest of the season,” she said.

Perry said if you ever encounter a venomous snake, just stay away from it and call them to take it away.
The snakes are a copper color and bite in self-defense.

“It’s such a fast snake. You have one shot and if you miss, it will pop you,” he said.


(Aug. 25, 2022) This article incorrectly reported the type of business the wildlife company is and has since been corrected to reflect the accurate type of business.