Dog vs. Horse

Philip Martinez and his horse, Cobalt, had quite a scare Dec. 29 when a pack of dogs attacked the animal on Martinez’s property on Fermin Chavez Road in Belen. The horse suffered a laceration on his upper foreleg and a smaller laceration on his neck.

BELEN -- A horse in Belen was wild with fear after being chased by three dogs, including a pit bull, that attacked the animal in a small pasture on Fermin Chavez Road. 

The dog tore a two-inch gash on the horse’s upper foreleg. It was swollen and oozing, and another smaller laceration on his neck shows the dog went for the horse’s jugular vein.

The horse’s owner, Philip Martinez, said it happened around 3 p.m. on Dec. 29.

Martinez’s small dog was barking and wouldn’t stop, that’s when he looked outside and saw three dogs, a pitbull and two larger white dogs, chasing his horse, Cobalt.

“The owner (of the pitbull) was out there, frantically trying to get his dog to stop chasing him,” Martinez said. “The owner was pretty worried.”

According to the animal control report, Martinez told the officer he didn’t know which dog actually attacked his horse.

Martinez called to Cobalt and opened the pasture gate to let the horse in the yard to get away from the dogs, he said.

“The horse was kind of freaked out because the horse had played with dogs before but never had one actually try to come after it to chew him up,” Martinez said. “The horse was really wound up.”

It all took place in less than a minute or two, he said.

The dogs came from a neighbor’s house a few houses down from Martinez.

“As I expected, the guy felt really bad,” Martinez said.

When Martinez saw the horse’s wounds, he called the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office and they sent Jacob Rael, animal control officer.

Rael took pictures and wrote a report, then issued the dog’s owner, Richard Carrillo, a citation for the incident.

Carrillo, who owned one of the three dogs, did not provide his phone number to the officer. Patty Mugan, supervisor and transfer coordinator at the Valencia County Animal Shelter, said Carrillo claimed not to have a phone.

Martinez could ask that Carrillo pay for the horse’s veterinary care, but he said he doesn’t want to do that.

“Keep in mind that the owner is ultimately responsible for keeping their animals on the property to prevent something like this from happening,” said Mugan. “It is required that all dogs and cats be vaccinated for rabies and licensed.”

Dogs that are spayed and neutered are less likely to leave their property and chase or attack livestock to this extent, Mugan added.

Martinez said he was not going to push the issue and that he would take care of the horse himself.

“My horse will recover. I’ll take care of my horse,” Martinez said. “I’m good about doctoring my horses. I’ve been raising horses for so long.”

The horse owner believes the dog attacked because it is a pit bull.

“In this incident, a pit bull was to blame for attacking a horse but that is definitely not always the case,” said Mugan. “We respond to calls every month of Labrador, heelers and other well-known breeds, even coyotes, that are attacking livestock.”

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