They have a special place in the hearts of many and now four of the five Hearts and Hooves Miniature Horses are recovering. Two pit bulls went on a violent rampage Thursday morning - killing one horse, and seriously injuring four others.
The four surviving horses are being treated at veterinary clinics in Littlefield and Wolfforth. In the moments before the attacks happened, a witness tells us it seemed as if the horses and dogs were simply playing.
"I saw two large black dogs and what I thought was playing with a miniature horse," said John McCullough.
Ten minutes later that seemingly harmless play date turned deadly.
"To think two dogs could do this to five horses is unbelievable to me," said Kauli Sparks.
Kauli owns the horses. Just before 8 a.m. Thursday, she found her horses bleeding from their necks, ears and hind legs - all the result of yet another Lubbock pit bull attack.
"Oreo which was one of our larger miniature horses was actually dead in the stall. I don't understand how that happened because I figure he was in the stall," said Kauli.
Kauli's husband Darrell found a male and female pit bull on the premises and trapped them until animal control arrived on the scene. A microchip was found in one of the dogs identifying the owners address. And as it turns out, animal control has been called to that address in the past. The owners did sign the dogs over to be euthanized.
Oreo suffered the brunt of the attack as he was killed. But Jolly, Pepperjack, Sparkles and Honor also suffered injuries.
"We use them in therapy we go to nursing homes and Alzheimer units and work with handicap disabled children," added Kauli.
And that makes the recovery of these four little horses essential to the Hearts and Hooves Organization's future.
The director of Lubbock Animal Services is checking state law to find out if the dogs' owners will be held criminally responsible for this attack.
Meanwhile, Sparks expects veterinary expenses to cost thousands of dollars. If you would like to help, a fund has been set up for the Hearts and Hooves organization at Security State Bank.
A new state law that says pit bull owners can face jail time if a someone is attacked, but is there any other legislation in the works?
NewsChannel 11 spoke with State Representative Carl Isett who says he's not aware of any current legislation, but he says there have certainly been discussions about it - one possibility being that owners get a permit to have a pit bull. And he says incidents like Thursday's only add fuel to conversations that could eventually end up as law.
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