04/08/04 — Horse put to sleep after attack by pit bulls

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Horse put to sleep after attack by pit bulls

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on April 8, 2004 2:04 PM

FREMONT -- A 5-year-old pony had to be put to sleep Wednesday after it was attacked by two pit bulls.

"It was a terrible sight," said Ray West, who arrived at the bloody scene not long after the attack began.

He was in Pikeville eating breakfast around 8 a.m. and said he just had the feeling that he needed to return home before going to work at his cabinet company. He could not believe what he found when his truck pulled up at his house at 420 Old Black Creek Road.

"I've never seen such a sight," said West.

He drove up to the pony's fence and saw two pit bulls covered in blood and fighting with his Australian sheep dog. They must have been able to get under the wire fence, he said. At first, he thought they were trying to kill his dog, but then he noticed the pony, which he said had its jaw broken and jugular veins torn open.

His dog came running toward him and then the pit bulls followed. He and the dog jumped in his truck for protection. He also had to grab his father, Lloyd West, and put him in the truck. The pit bulls, which he estimated to be between 80 and 85 pounds each, eventually went into the woods behind the pony pasture.

The dogs' owner found them in the woods and ordered that the Wayne County Animal Control have them put down, said West. Animal Control's complaint form indicates the owner's name to be Amelia McKenzie of 400 Old Black Creek Rd. Mrs. McKenzie declined to comment. West said the owners had recently moved down the road and he did not know they had the pit bulls.

"It's a nightmare, it's just unbelievable," he said, regarding the incident.

The pony belonged to Lloyd, 80, who lives in the middle of the four and a half acres and would feed the pony every morning in his pajamas. He got the pony when it was three weeks old and gave it to his two grandchildren: Thomas Finch, 3, of Wilson, and West Graham, 5, of Wilmington. Finch also took care of the horse and did not know about the incident as of this morning. West planned on breaking the news to him today.

West said he initially dialed 911, which reported the incident to Wayne County Animal Control.

Jerry Pate with Animal Control said his department took the dogs and euthanized them at the dog owners' request. These types of incidents do not happen often, he added. When they do happen, they make the agency's calls increase because people are more concerned when they see pit bulls or dogs that look like that breed, he said.

A veterinarian euthanized the horse, which was buried in the pasture at its home. He said the pit bulls' owners paid the bill of $200 to have the horse put down.