Dawn the baby fawn lost her eye to a snake bite during Tropical Storm Debby

Debby caused disruptions to wildlife

PALM HARBOR, Fla. - a little fawn, nicknamed Dawn, is less than two weeks old and already melting hearts.

"She's a little hero at this point in time," smiled Rick Chaboudy.

Last week, in the middle of Tropical Storm Debby, Dawn was bit by a poisonous water moccasin in Odessa. Chaboudy, Executive Director of the Suncoast Animal League was called to help.

"I went out there and picked her up and she was in terrible, terrible shape.  I mean it was something that you almost didn't believe.  To see her head three to four times the size of what it should be," recalled Chaboudy.

The venom did its damage.  Dawn was bit in the eye and cheek.  Things were touch and go in the first few hours.  Ultimately, her eye had to be removed at the Erlich Animal Hospital.

"One of the fangs went down under her jaw, and you see where there's hair loss.  And then the other fang literally penetrated the eyeball," Chaboudy said, pointing to the wounded areas.

Chaboudy says Dawn wouldn't have survived even one night with her injuries.

Despite the trauma, and all the pampering that followed, Dawn seems to have formed an identity through her survival skills.

"She's an ornery little thing. I mean, she's got a little temper.  She's got an attitude.  She wants to do things her way all the time.  And I guess because she's so cute she figures she can get away with that kind of stuff," laughed Chaboudy.

As cute as she may be, there's little chance she could survive in the wild with only one eye.

"At this point in time, what we'll do is we've got another ten days or so before the stitches come out in her eye.  She's still on the bottle.  But we'll be looking for a state-permitted rehab area that are allowed to have permanent deer," Chaboudy said.

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