Woman Recalls Day Copperhead Killed 95-Pound Dog

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MERRIAM, Kan. -- After her 95-pound dog was bit and killed by a copperhead, one woman said she wants others to know there are venomous snakes in the metro.

Jennifer Kennedy said she was working on her laptop last Wednesday, Sept. 29, when  she heard her beloved 8-year-old German Shepherd "Jojo" let out a screeching yelp. She rushed outside to find him fighting for her life.

"She was literally collapsed right here in my rose garden," Kennedy said. "As she was collapsed, I heard the hissing under my feet. I was standing on the front porch and she was still breathing. I was screaming. I thought she was stuck, and I go to pull her out and I realized she was in shock and not stuck. Then she took one breath and she just collapsed and was gone just like that."

Kennedy believes the snake slithered from a city water pipe behind her backyard through a wooded area next to her house and nested under her front porch and may still be there.

"I'm terrified, you know, to do any yard work or be out and about," she said. "I've been watering and seeding -- not anymore. It's just too dangerous."

Too dangerous, she said, without her protector.

"She was always protecting me. She was a good dog and she was very, very protective," Kennedy said. "She was my girl, she was definitely my girl."

Now that her girl is gone, Kennedy doesn't want others to suffer the same fate.

"I really want people to be aware that we have copperheads in Johnson County," she said.

Kansas City Zoo Assistant Director and C.O.O. Geoff Hall said although the zoo doesn't have venomous snakes, the metro certainly does.

"Copperheads are indigenous to our area," Hall said. "They like rocky areas with southern exposures."

Hall said the copper-colored crawlers are the least venomous of the venomous snakes in North America.

"I think it rare for a copperhead to envenomate a dog and kill a dog, so although it's possible, I believe it's quite rare," he said.

A rarity Kennedy knows too well.

"It's been very strange, it doesn't feel like my house right now," she said. "It's just very weird not having her here, and I don't feel safe without her."

Earlier this summer an Olathe man was bitten on the finger by a copperhead. He was taken to an area hospital but has since recovered from his injuries.

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