A popular Perth snake handler has allegedly been pepper-sprayed and beaten during a late-night attack as she tried to rescue an injured reptile.
Tessa was called to help a wounded snake near Mullaloo Beach, in the city’s northern suburbs, just after 10.30pm on October 25.
While looking for the serpent, police allege Tessa was pepper-sprayed several times in the face before her attacker unleashed a barrage of punches and kicks to her head, face and ribs.
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The accused is also alleged to have used a piece of wood to smash the windscreen, side mirrors and lights of Tessa’s vehicle.
The victim was treated at the scene by SJA WA paramedics.
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A 20-year-old woman from Southern River has been charged by WA Police with causing poison to be administered, common assault, and criminal damage or destruction of property over the incident.
She is due to appear before the Joondalup Magistrates Court on November 20.
Tessa runs Tessa’s Reptile Services and has cultivated a following of 13,000 people on Facebook, where she shares videos of her rescues and releases.
In one rescue posted online the day before she was allegedly attacked, Tessa showed how she released a female dugite found relaxing on a wall in Edgewater.
She also shares tips on how to keep animals, including dogs, safe during spring and summer, especially when walking them in public places such as parks and bushland reserves.
‘Humbled and strengthened’
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to assist the handler and her family while she is off work.
“She will be unable to help us with the snakes for some time as she recovers from her injuries but we can help her by giving generously to this fundraiser,” campaign organiser Elizabeth Hewitt said.
“Tessa has kids who have been traumatised by their mum going out to help someone and not coming back. Let’s help them have a good Christmas.
“All funds raised will be given to Tessa.”
Tessa told 7NEWS.com.au she is being cared for by family and friends and had been “humbled and strengthened” by the community’s support.
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