Dog Attack Leaves Horses Dead

A very sad event happened last week at Serenity Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation in Maple Valley, Washington.  Two rescued horses, both mares, were peacefully grazing in a pasture along with their two foals, when they were brutally attacked by five neighbor dogs that had recently moved into the area.  The two mares were injured so badly, they had to be euthanized and all five of the dogs were put down for being vicious.  Only the two foals survived.


The events leading up to this devastating attack are very similar to the events of another story I posted on Care2 called, a Witch Hunt for Dogs in Cape Cod.  In that instance, an entire town had gone into a state of panic because six pit bull dogs had recently moved into a neighborhood with their family.  


I reported how the neighbors were overreacting, but in light of the outcome of this new shocking story I wonder if the residents of Mashpee, MA might be justified in some of their concerns.  It occurred to me that the only difference between these two situations is the personality of the individuals who own the dogs involved. 


One welcomed the opportunity to show how well-socialized his pets were, while the other shirked his responsibilities.  It made me realize that the fates of our pets are held tightly in our hands and in our actions as their guardians. 


Here is the heartbreaking story about the horses killed last week and how one irresponsible pet owner caused so much pain.


Patricia Clark founded Serenity Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation for abandoned, abused and neglected horses.  Up until last week, she had 51 horses in various stages of rehabilitation on her property. 


The two mares, Kiara and Kat were both pregnant when Clark rescued them. One came from a slaughterhouse.


Kiara was a Bay Arabian with a 6-month-old colt named Brave Heart.  Kat was a Paint horse with a 5-month-old filly named Cloud.  Both foals were still nursing when their mother’s were killed. 


Since the incident Clark has been so upset, she is finding it hard to leave her home.  As an animal lover she is mourning the loss of the horses and the dogs.  She told reporters, “It’s not their fault.  It’s the owner’s fault.”


The problem started four months ago when new neighbors moved into the property next door with five mixed breed dogs.  The neighbor’s fence had a hole in it and almost immediately, the dogs began escaping and running onto the property of Serenity Rescue. 


They were aggressive from the beginning, chasing Clark up her driveway or blocking her as she walked on a path to her well.  About two weeks ago, Clark caught the dogs chasing her horses in the pasture.


She talked to the man who owned the dogs on several occasions about fixing his fence, but heard excuses about the cost involved and about his long work hours. 


Clark also complained to her local sheriff’s department and animal control.  They told her it was legal for her to shoot the dogs because they were chasing her livestock.  She told them, “I can’t shoot the dogs.  I can’t shoot animals.  I’m in rescue.  It’s not their fault.  It’s the people’s fault.”


It seemed like there way no place where Clark could turn for help.  It created an enormous dilemma for her.


Then last week all of Clark’s fears turned into reality when one of her volunteers came screaming from the pasture that the dogs were circling and biting the horses.


Another volunteer brought a whip to the field and began snapping it at the dogs to scare them away.  She reported that one of the mares tried to protect her foal by stepping between the dogs and her offspring.  But ultimately, the dogs ignored all of the distractions and attacked.


A few minutes later, both mares were on the ground with deep bite wounds and claw marks all over their legs and bodies.  The two younger horses had minor injuries to their legs.


Now just like the residents of Mashpee, the citizens of Maple Valley are panicked about the situation.  And Patricia Clark sadly summarizes the event this way, “All of these animals (two horses and five dogs) have been killed because of these ignorant and careless people.” 



Free digital photos


Lesley S.
Lesley S9 years ago

We used to shoot dogs when they were in the pasture, chasing and mauling the milk goats. But there were too many loose dogs in our rural area. But that was before we put our mule, Gus, in the same pasture. He would run along the fenceline, snorting and stomping when a dog was loose and came near the field fencing, that was also inforced with electric fencing. Now THAT'S a wonderful way to keep dogs in and out! But our goats were safe with Gus on duty. He was out for blood! Donkeys and mules are popular as guard animals for sheep and goat herds. They eat the same food and also bond with the herd. Lots of dogs and coyotes were stomped to death, once, a documented case of a mule killing a wolf!
It's too late now for those dogs and horses. But things like that happen when we ignore our responsibilities. Sometimes it's something simple goes wrong, like not latching a gare properly.

carol g.
carol g9 years ago

oh i failed to mention that 1 of my dogs is an american bull dog and 1 is a pitt bull, great dogs but there is a need to be very firm with them, the guy that had those dogs is a idiot .

carol g.
carol g9 years ago

The people that have these dogs should get a big fine and should no longer be able to own a dog. I have horses and i also have 4 dogs ,my dogs are not allowed in any where the horses are ,the dogs come in when the horses are put in the stalls for the night, it is for the dogs protection and the horses protection,the people who had those dogs should be held responsible for their dogs actions and isn't there a leash law in that state?

gail s.
gail s9 years ago

it is sad for all the animals. I have 5 dogs of my own. all are fixed, taken care of and had shots and things they need. I have them on two acres of land with the invisible fence system. I keep my dogs in but others don't. when i walk my dogs they are on leashes. People need to take better care of thier animals and spay and nuetuer and not buy pets from breeders while so many animals in this country are pts every day thorugh no fault of thier own. I sure hope it never comes to that for us. But who knows with the times the way they are now. This is getting tp be a scarier country everyday. People need to wake up and take heed or the freedoms we have are going to be gone that our soliders have faught so hard for and died in the years to keep us this way and free.

Julie B.
Julie B.9 years ago

While I agree the dog owner is ultimately responsible for this situation, the owner of the sanctuary should have shot the dogs. I don't care if she is operating a rescue. She has a responsibility for the animals in her care from outside dangers. I have horses of my own and if I discovered a neighbor's dog(s) causing distress to any of my horses, it would get one warning shot. I won't tolerate someone's dogs harassing my animals.

Rural areas do not have animal control, and very rarely have limits on pets. The authorities could/should have spoken with the dog owner, but they don't have resources to send someone out to pick up the dogs.

Cynthia Mattera
Cynthia Mattera9 years ago

I don'' think laws limiting the number of dogs you own will cut down on attacks, one dog can easily attack someone. The pet owners that need to be more responsible. Any person who owns a pet, should have their yard fenced-in and when walking the dogs they should always be on a leash. If a person fails to do these 2 things, they should be fined. Believe me, people do not like paying fines or tickets!

Robin C.
Robin C.9 years ago

The problem here is the owners and the authorities who did nothing to prevent what happened here. These dogs may or may not have been bad when not in a pack situation but the police and animal control should have forced the guy to control the dogs or taken some action. Many places do not take problems involving animals seriously unless there is a tragedy and that includes situations where there is poor treatment or abuse of animals. Until they get these lazy, ignorant people out of positions of authority, this type of thing is bound to happen.

Karin Notzli
Karin Notzli9 years ago

This is really tragic. People who are not prepared to care for their aniamls properly, including providing adequate fencing, simply shouldn't have them. This man knew that his dogs were causing trouble and yet did not consider it important to restrain them onto his property. The result being that those poor dogs had to be put down and 2 horses also. What an aweful thing for a rescue centre to have to deal with. Shame this man and also on the authorities for not doing more to prevent this incident. I don't believe shooting trespassing animals is the answer, it's not their fault they they were allowed to wander and it is in any dog's nature to hunt when in a pack.

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M9 years ago

I will reiterate something I have said in this and other posts - animals are more like us than we are willing to acknowledge. They are capable of becoming sick both physically and mentally. We have all heard of the extreme cases of the pet Saint Bernard attacking the family infant. It is tragic, but you would not impugn the whole breed based on that one incident. I have never owned a pit and the idea of having a dog as protection or intimidation is appalling to me. Certainly, extensive inbreeding can result in mental and temperment imbalances in a breed. That onus is on us and our perversion of what should be a wholesome relationship between a pet and the person they live with.

I have to wonder, in this instance - if this irresponsible dog owner had no time to fix the fence, what other aspects of the care of these dogs was being neglected? Perhaps they attacked these horses because they were starving. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that a negligent owner such as this did not have the 'time' to put food in their bowls. Nothing will prompt a pack of dogs to violence faster than hunger. Perhaps this irresponsible idiot was encouraging his animals to roam free and fend for themselves, while he shirked his responsibility to care for and feed these animals. Just some food for thought.

It has been said before, and I don't disagree - I think the wrong parties died in this sad scenario.

Leni M.
Leni M9 years ago

I am aming this comment especially for -- Jim D. says Sep 14, 2009 5:27 AM -- please do not be disheartened for all this poll is doing is to bring awareness not only by limiting the number of dogs but also protecting them for we all, as animal lovers, do know that it is not the animal but the guardian (I absolutely hate the term OWNERS). I sincerely wish that this person could have been shot our euthanized instead of the dogs for I was weeping after reading for I would not want to witness this. This horribly sad for all the animals involved and the person and her volunteers, traumatic. We need to post these abusers photos so that people can see their faces. Jim, thank you for being a loving, caring and responsible pet parent/guardian.