Supervisor, dog injured by snake bite

Published 7:26 pm Friday, May 28, 2010

It was four years ago that District Two Supervisor Bobby Wattsdecided to keep and raise a pair of puppies dumped at his house,but one week ago that decision paid off in an unexpected andgreatly appreciated way.

Watts was bitten four times by a cottonmouth snake in the doorwayof his home last Friday night, but his dog Red stepped in and tookthe first bite – and apparently all the venom – before his masterwas struck.

“If that snake would have got me with that venom, I don’t know ifmy heart could have took it,” Watts said. “I believe that dog mayhave saved my life. I got bit four times, but ‘ole Red got all thedough.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Watts and Red are nearly fully recovered from the incident.

Watts was sitting at the kitchen table at his home on Highway 51North last Friday just after 6 p.m. when the dogs, Red and Charlie,went haywire, barking and snarling at the front door. He thoughtthey were aroused by something beyond the door, in the front yard,but the canines were actually alerted to something in thedoor.

“I went to the front door and opened it, then I opened the screendoor and when I went out my right foot hit a cottonmouth moccasin,and he bit me four times straight,” Watts said.

Watts took the four fast bites to the side of his right foot, andthe cottonmouth slithered inside the house in the frenzy of bloodand barking. Watts said the snake made a run for the corner behindthe front door, so he flung the door back against the wall andtrapped the serpent. Rather than immediately calling 911, hedecided to go on the offensive first, worried that if the snakeprogressed into the house he’d never be able to find it.

“Then my old Marine Corp. sense came back to me,” he said. “Thefirst thing you do is get control of your enemy. If you’re not incontrol of the enemy, he’s in control of you.”

With the snake immobilized, Watts limped into the kitchen andreturned with a mop handle and a can of insecticide. He shook thecan up to make sure he’d get a good burst, readied the stick in theother hand and jerked the door away from the wall.

“When I opened that door, his mouth went wide open, and I shot thatspray directly in his mouth,” Watts said. “And he went out ofcontrol, and then I was in control. I hit him three hard licks withthe mop handle, and the third lick killed him.”

With the snake dead and his foot bleeding profusely, Watts called911 and paramedics from King’s Daughters Medical Center arrived”immediately.” No one – including Watts – knew the dog hadintercepted the venom, and paramedics were moving quickly to gethim to the hospital.

“I wanted to go lock the house up before we got in the ambulance,but they said, ‘No, we’ve got to go,'” he said.

Once they arrived, of course, Watts’ condition was quite stable.Bleeding had stopped and there was no swelling or discoloration.Paramedics had brought the dead cottonmouth along for thephysician’s benefit, so it was no secret a poisonous snake hadstruck.

The doctor advised Watts to check his dogs when he got home. He wasreleased from KDMC early Saturday morning.

“I got home and ‘ole Red was puffed up like a lion,” Watts said.”He’s still swollen now, but he’s going to be all right.”