Update: Dogs that mauled horse located; will be euthanized

Update: Dogs that mauled horse located; will be euthanized
A memorial is set up at the San Marcos corral where a 15-year-old horse was mauled by two Pit Bulls on Saturday. The horse had to be put down due to its injuries. Photo by Tony Cagala

SAN MARCOS — Officials with the County’s Animal Control unit said they were confident on the whereabouts of two Pit Bulls that were believed to have mauled a horse on Saturday night.

Steve MacKinnon, chief of humane law enforcement, said on Wednesday that Animal Control officers with a police officer were headed to a location they believed the dogs to be.

On Thursday, the San Diego Humane Society released a statement saying that the dogs were located and that the owners “relinquished both dogs San Diego Humane Society last night for humane euthanasia.”

Animal Control received a tip to the location from the public.

The attack, which occurred at a residence on Fulton Road, led to the death of a 15-year-old horse named Smoky.

After the attack Animal Control officers and Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene and searched the area. MacKinnon said the search revealed no leads on the dogs.

Several hours later, a good Samaritan called Animal Control saying she had found two dogs that were “tired and wet,” MacKinnon said.

While not certain they were the dogs in the attack, though MacKinnon said they were fairly sure they were, the responding officer brought the dogs to an animal hospital for treatment at approximately 1 a.m. on Sunday.

However, there was some miscommunication with the responding officer that there was a hold on the two animals, MacKinnon explained, and the dogs in question were released to their owners after receiving treatment.

The owners, according to MacKinnon, have received a number of visits from Animal Control with the most recent visit prior to this incident back in January.

“Prior to that, in previous years, we’ve had multiple contacts with them,” MacKinnon said. At least one of the two dogs that had received prior visits is believed to be one of the dogs in the horse attack.

The owners, MacKinnon said, have been “less than cooperative,” in the investigation, adding that they’re not facing any charges at this point.

Due to the nature of the attack, there was concern for the public’s safety.

“Because this was such an unusual attack, it’s unusual for two dogs to attack something as large as a horse,” MacKinnon said. “So the fact that they are willing to do this causes us concern. Could the public be at risk in some way? We just can’t say. But we’re going on the side of caution,” MacKinnon said.

Officers had been in the area since Monday searching for the dogs.

“This is all-around an extremely tragic incident and our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected,” the Humane Society statement read. “We’re committed to ensuring the health and safety of all animals, along with the safety of our community residents. The decision to euthanize an animal is never easy to make, and we take this responsibility very seriously. But public safety is the ultimate priority.”

This story has been updated since its original posting.

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