Millstream resident Teena Williams and Shelby the dog, who saved Teena's life by pushing her out of the way of an eastern brown snake.
Millstream resident Teena Williams and Shelby the dog, who saved Teena's life by pushing her out of the way of an eastern brown snake.

Hero dog saves woman from deadly snake

A PET dog is being hailed as a hero after saving a woman's life by pushing her out of the way of a deadly snake.

Shelby, a five-year-old pitbull cross, is back on her feet after being bitten by an eastern brown while protecting Teena Williams, 69, from the dangerous reptile near Ravenshoe on Anzac Day.

Ms Williams' daughter Tanya Lee, who had been visiting her mother at her Millstream property on April 25, said her mum had been picking bananas when she startled the large snake near a tree in the yard.

"It must have been in a hole or something, and Mum stood on it," Ms Lee said.

"All of a sudden Shelby just virtually barrelled her out of the way, and then I saw the snake in her mouth after she attacked it.

"We jumped out of the road.

"It was probably about 45 minutes later that we realised that (Shelby) was laying on the ground, and she had just defecated, because she'd been bitten."

With most businesses closed due to the public holiday, Shelby was rushed to the nearest vet 50km away, where she was administered snake antivenom.

Ms Lee said there was a $1400 vet bill, however Shelby was worth every penny.

"I work for the Queensland Ambulance Service, and I guarantee you, within 35 minutes my mother would have been dead if she had bitten," she said.

"Shelby saved her life."

Dr Tamara Olley from Tableland Veterinary Service said Shelby was extremely lucky to survive after being bitten by the eastern brown, which is regarded as having one of the most toxic snake venoms in the world.

"With most dogs that get bitten by snakes, it's a bit of a roll of the dice whether they live or not," she said.

She said despite the 45-minute journey from Millstream to Malanda, Shelby had arrived in relatively good shape.

"Shelby's a big, strong dog and wasn't too bad when she came into the clinic, so was still walking and quite alert and receptive," she said.

"She had mild signs of the snake bite envenomation, and I just gave her the antivenom in time and she was all good the next day to go home."

She said eastern brown snakes were common in the area, but more active in the spring months.



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