SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. (AP) — A man in Florida says his family’s 8-month-old pit bull Zeus died of snake bites as it was trying to protect his sons.

Gary Richardson told WOFL-TV the boys were outside the family’s home in Sumter County, Florida, on Monday, cleaning Zeus’ water dish when the venomous coral snake slithered toward them. Richardson says the children didn’t see the snake but the dog did and attacked it.

Richardson says the snake bit Zeus four times. The dog was rushed to a veterinarian but he died a day after the attack.

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Information from: WOFL-TV, http://www.wofl.com/