Horse Pursued into River
Auburn, CA - In less than 3 weeks, there's been another horse attack in the same area. The search for the "missing" pit bull owner that attacked the horse of Odette Parker in early April is ongoing. A $4,000 reward exists for anyone who can provide information about the man's whereabouts.
The recent unprovoked attack occurred at the North Fork of the American River on Sunday afternoon, with a 13-year-old Arabian fending the dog off and then entering the swift-flowing current to escape further injury. Rider Sandra Goodwin does not believe it is the same pit bull that attacked Odette's horse.
“We saw the pit bull running at us from about 150 yards away," Sandra said. "It was coming at us like a bullet.”
The dog jumped at the face of her husband’s horse but it turned its head before the pit bull could latch on with its jaws. Her husband Harrison dismounted and gave the dog a strong kick, lifting it backward. But the dog wasn’t done. It snapped at the horse’s legs while the 900-pound Arabian kicked back to protect itself.
“It was vicious, unstoppable,” Sandra said. “There was nothing that could have stopped that dog but a gun. If the dog had turned on us, we would have had no defense.”
Next the dog turned on Sandra's horse, Halleys Comet, jumping up and biting in the stomach area. Shaking the dog off, Halleys Comet took off and circled the sandy beach with his attacker in pursuit. The bloodied horse landed some solid blows with its hooves as the dog attempted to bite its flanks. At one point the horse stomped on the pit bull.
The owner attempted to catch the dog but wasn’t able to stop the continuing assault. The pit bull continued its assault after Halley's Comet swam into the North Fork waters. The dog jumped in the river and swam after it. Fortunately, the dog got caught in the current and was carried downstream, away from the horse.
Pit bulls do not stop. This selectively bred trait is called "gameness," the pit bull's refusal to give up a fight, even when considerable violence is inflicted upon it.
The horse was poneyed to the side of the river by Harrison and made it back to its trailer, about 2 miles away. She was taken to a veterinarian, where her wound took 20 stitches to close. While the wound is expected to heal in two weeks, the psychological scars Halley's Comet will have to deal with are uncertain.
The attack took place on land that is within the jurisdiction of county law enforcement rather than the state Parks Department -- where Odette's horse was attacked. Sandra said that law enforcement would identify the dog as "potentially dangerous" and cite the owner for having the dog off leash and not in control.
“It’s like one strike and it only applies in Placer County,” Goodwin said. “It’s really scary to think about if it had been a kid rather than a horse.”
Public policymakers ought to be very concerned about the injury pit bulls inflict on children and senior citizens. But for over 20 years, most have not. Most buy into the argument that "it's the owner not the breed." Meanwhile, the collective damage pit bulls inflict on human beings and our pets continues to be added to on a daily basis.
04/11/08: Pit Bull Attacks Horse in Classic Bull Baiting Form
See all: Horse Attacks by Pit Bulls