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Dog's horse-attack ‘wanted’ posters plaster Norcal

Dogged search spreads to region as leads dry up for law enforcement
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Reward posters are going up on walls in pet stores and veterinarian offices from Reno to Sacramento to Stockton in a new regional drive to collar a man and dog involved in a brutal attack on a horse near Auburn. The grassroots manhunt is meant to augment efforts by law enforcement to find the dog owner who fled after the attack on a horse being ridden on an Auburn State Recreation Area trail April 3. Posters started going up locally a week ago, showing artist renderings of the man, the dog involved in the attack and two other dogs that were with the man but didn’t take part in the horse attack. A total of 1,000 posters were printed locally and are now spreading into the equestrian and pet-owner community throughout the region, Auburn pet groomer Margot Farrelly said. The attack by what is being described as a possible boxer-pit bull mix and an eerily similar attack by a pit bull on the shore of the North Fork of the American River in Applegate two weeks later has galvanized the equestrian community, she said. Posters are now plastered from Sacramento to Foresthill to Modesto to Reno, Farrelly said. “He will be found,” she said. “People are incensed that he would stand by and watch his dog attack a horse, have the rider thrown off, and never have a thought to pull the dog off and help the lady.” The state Parks Department and Placer County Animal Control have followed leads and tried to find the man since the April 3 attack. But Supervising Animal Control Officer Tim Goffa said Friday that the investigation had reached a dead end. The poster campaign could result in new information for an investigation that has not been closed, he said. Of particular interest to animal control would be any information from people who may have interacted with the dog owner before he fled with the three canines on Foresthill Road, Goffa said. The suspect description is of a man in his early 20s, with a short neck and stocky build, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, and a shaved head. The man took off in what could be a small silver SUV from the 2001 or 2002 model years. Odette Parker, the rider in the attack, said that it’s been frustrating to think that the dog is still at large. Parker said she took her horse, Dancing Dandi, out last week for his first trail ride since the attack. “He was very wary,” the Lincoln equestrian said. “Whenever he sees dogs, he looks at them askance.” Parker said that she’s seen the posters “all over the place” and hopes they’ll do some good. “It’s inconceivable that he would allow the dog to run loose after what has happened but you never know,” Parker said. At Scott’s Corner Hay & Feed, just outside Auburn, a poster has been prominently placed on the wall at the entrance to the store and not on the less-high-profile bulletin board. “People are very upset, particularly when the first attack was followed by a second,” said employee Alan Martin. “People are saddened because they don’t want a horse hurt – and then the man ran off with his dogs. Personal responsibility is lacking greatly in this society.” Martin said he took some posters to hang in Foresthill, spreading the message of an attack and a reward that has been raised to $4,700. The reward is for information leading to the identification of the man and three dogs involved in the horse attack on the public trail. The Animal Control tip line is (530) 886-5544. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com. ________________________ To view the initial April 3 story on the horse attack, use this link: http://auburnjournal.com/detail/80982.html