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New leads emerge in dog attack on horse

Reward for information rises to $1,500 in a day
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Approaching a week since a vicious dog attack on a horse being ridden on an Auburn-area trail, the investigation into locating the animal was bolstered Wednesday by new information and a growing reward. A state Department of Parks and Recreation official said the rider has provided a clearer description of the car the dog owner fled in after the attack near Driver's Flat, on Foresthill Road. And veteran Lincoln endurance rider Odette Parker, whose horse is recovering from bites to its head and body, has provided more details on the dog “ which broadens the search to include the possibility it is a pit bull-mastiff crossbreed. Ranger Scott Liske said it's possible the dog could be a crossbreed, although Parker said she's convinced the dog is a pit bull. The clearer description on the dog and car, added to information received from the Placer County Animal Services Division about a possible person of interest, is breathing new life into an investigation that had initially been bogged down by lack of details on the fleeing auto. After the attack, the man had driven away with the dog. Witnesses were unable to get a license-plate number. Liske said that on further reflection, Parker had narrowed down what she had initially described as a silver SUV to probably a silver Honda CRV from 2004. Parker recalled the rear license plate is offset by a spare tire and the plate is located on the driver's side. Parker described an attack by a 100-pound pit bull “ which is on the heavy end of the weight scale for the breed. Liske said it's possible the dog is a mastiff crossbreed because of its size and color. Mastiffs are about 80 to 100 pounds and can be dark tan. The attack dog was described as tan colored. County Animal Control is assisting with the investigation and the Placer County Sheriff's Department and District Attorney's Office are also involved on the case. Meanwhile, a $500 donation to a reward fund by Auburn's Echo Valley Ranch feed and supply store was increased by another $1,000 by Wednesday “ a day after owner Greg Kimler initially put the money up. The reward is for information leading to the owner being held responsible for having the dog off leash at the time of the attack. Parker was on the horse when the dog approached at about noon Thursday and moved in three times to bite the horse. At one point, the dog clamped its jaws on the horse's snout and hung on until it was thrown into a tree. The dog chased the horse from the attack site about 4 miles east of Auburn until the two arrived at Foresthill Road. The dog was picked up by the owner while the bloodied horse galloped down the road for about two miles before being caught near the Foresthill Bridge. Auburn's Wendell & Inez Robie Foundation added $500 to the reward fund on Wednesday. Smaller donations brought it to nearly $1,500, Kimler said. Marvin Jacinto, a retired Placer County sheriff's captain and foundation director, said that leaving the scene of the attack was criminal. The Robie Foundation perpetuates the memory of Auburn residents Wendell and Inez Robie, who were well-known trail riders and influential trail preservation advocates. Trails have been a safe place and we certainly don't need that kind of hazard, Jacinto said. The man with the attacking dog had two others with him. Parker said that her best description of the larger dog was that it had a Great Dane head too large for the proportion of its body, clipped ears, and slender frame. The smaller dog had a terrier face, wavy, long, white hair and weighed about 25 to 30 pounds. Parker and Debbie Torres, a Lincoln rider who was also on the trail, described the man as in his mid-to-late 20s, balding, with a short fringe of black hair near the ears, stocky and about 5 feet 5 inches tall. He wore jeans and a white T-shirt. For people with information on the dog or owner, the state Parks Department can be reached at (530) 885-4527. For people wishing to add to the reward, Echo Valley's phone number is (530) 823-1482. The Journal's Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com.