Tuesday Mar 31 2009
Horse and rider survive dog attack
By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
Veterinarian: Horse suffered bite wounds ‘too numerous to count’
On Tuesday, Newcastle’s Carol Davis was just starting to worry about herself instead of her horse. Her 11-year-old Arabian was attacked by a dog on a trail Sunday near Folsom Lake, suffering numerous dog bites. The horse is now in an animal shelter with wounds a veterinarian described as too numerous to count. An off-leash German shepherd attacked the horse as Davis was riding it on a Folsom Lake Recreation Area trail in Granite Bay. Davis said that she was bucked off the horse during the melee Sunday and ended up cracking her helmet on a rock. Also limping from a hip injury, Davis – who said she’s been riding horses for 57 of her 61 years – said she’s been suffering from headaches and pain. She said the fall might have also caused a concussion and she was expected to have that looked at by a doctor Tuesday. Davis said her riderless horse – a mare named Katie – galloped off and was chased for a mile by the dog before being stopped. As the panic-stricken horse moved along the narrow trail, it struck the 3-year-old daughter of the couple who had let their dog run free, she said. The girl suffered a broken collarbone. Davis was riding with a friend as a member of the volunteer Folsom Lake Trail Patrol, when the dog charged up and started jumping and chewing at Katie’s hip. They were on the Pioneer Express Trail, which is linked to the Western States Trail. The horse was chased off the side of the trail and down an embankment, where she bucked Davis off. Davis said that only the presence of her riding helmet prevented a more serious injury. The horse’s run was stopped by a group taking part in a fun run at Twin Rocks Road, about a mile away. “They were having a run that day and the people at an aid station caught her and the dog,” Davis said. The attack occurred at about 11 a.m. Davis was taken to hospital in Roseville for treatment of her injuries. The injured horse is continuing to be cared for at the Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center. Veterinarian Langdon Fielding said the bites were too numerous to count but luckily, were fairly superficial. Katie had trouble walking on one front leg and was expected to remain at the Loomis clinic until the end of the week. “She’s been doing really well,” Fielding said. “She’s been eating better and appears much happier.” Davis said the owner of the dog was cited by the state Parks Department for having it off its leash. The owner is also paying for veterinary bills, which are expected to run well into the thousands of dollars. Davis said her story is emblematic of the dangers that occur when dogs are allowed by unthinking owners to run free in parks and other areas where horses are. “It was a moment’s bad judgment on the owner’s part but it shows what can happen,” Davis said. “I want to see people keep their dogs on a leash to prevent this happening again to someone else.” The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at email@example.com.