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Wolf-hybrid dogs attack, kill miniature horse

April 18, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
It was a pet-on-pet attack: Two dogs believed to be wolf hybrids killed a miniature horse in Gavilan Hills south of Riverside. One of the dogs was shot and killed immediately after the attack. The second dog was captured and euthanized over the weekend.

The Bar H Ranch in Gavilan Hills is home to a number of animals: horses, donkeys, even prize-winning longhorns.

It was also the new home to a 6-year-old miniature horse until last Thursday, when it was killed in its stall by a pair of wolf-hybrid dogs.

"Look at the scene here. You can tell it was a vicious attack, and could have been someone's dog or kid or something," said ranch owner Chris Herron.

Herron says he had just bought the little horse days earlier for his girlfriend.

"She's just devastated," said Herron.

One of the ranch hands fired a gun to try to kill the wolf hybrid.

"One of them took three shots and kept running, and he had been seen the following day," said Herron.

That's when Animal Control caught up with the wolf hybrid and euthanized it. The other one was shot dead at the scene.

The dogs belonged to someone living at a home not far away. Riverside County Animal Services says it's unclear how the animals got out.

"Anytime someone has a large dog and they're not properly keeping them in their yard, bad stuff can happen," said John Welsh, spokesman for the animal services department.

So how dangerous can a wolf-hybrid dog be? Experts say it really depends on how many generations removed it is from an actual wolf.

"The wolf is a wild animal," said Welsh. "Fish and Game wardens will have issues if the dog is not far removed from that actual wild animal."

Animal services says the agency will be citing the owner of the dogs for having them off-leash.

Meantime, the horse owner says he'll be considering a lawsuit.

"We're going to take legal action so hopefully we can make this a safe area to live in," said Chris Herron.