SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Karen Spechler held a small, unintended trophy from last weekend's terrifying encounter with a large rattlesnake.
The Santa Barbara woman, who lives above a canyon, believes it was the same snake that bit her 8 year old Wire-Haired Dachshund in the face last month.
"We had to take her to the vet and $5,000 dollars later and two vials of antivenom, she lived -- barely. That was upsetting, horrifying."
Spechler had even put her two dogs through rattlesnake aversion training back in May. The near-deadly encounter happened just feet from her sliding back door, when the dog walked past a bush.
"I know I'm in their territory -- I'm sorry," said Spechler. "I'm trying to protect them but I also really need to protect the dogs."
She says she reached out to animal control after numerous sightings of the same 4-foot-long rattlesnake slithering across her back patio but never heard back. So, she was eventually forced to take matters into her own hands.
"We thought, 'How are we gonna get rid of the snake?'"
Last Sunday was the last straw.
"I could hear it!" she said. "And yes, the dogs alerted me. They started barking that crazy bark! I ran out the door, no shoes, nothing. I got them in the house, came back out and there it was."
The snake was coiled up against the house behind a hedge. Spechler grabbed a shovel and a pellet gun.
"I thought, 'I've got to kill it.' I didn't want to kill it but I had no choice."
Days later, Spechler hired a company to start snake abatement measures.
A two-man crew spent the better part of Wednesday attaching a low, metal mesh fence to her chainlink fence, around the entire perimeter of her backyard, for extra protection.
Her message to pet owners, especially those living in rural area: "Put your dog through snake aversion training. It does work!"