A miniature horse named HaliBerry is recovering after its left ear was bitten off in an attack by two pitbulls on a rural property in Cassidy on Monday. (Photo courtesy Golden Maples Farm)

Miniature horse has ear bitten off in pit bull attack on Vancouver Island

Incident happened Monday near Nanaimo

A therapeutic miniature horse is now the one requiring care after its ear was bitten off in an attack by two pit bulls south of Nanaimo on Monday.

The two-and-a-half-foot-tall horse, named HaliBerry, was first attacked by the dogs in its stall and the attack continued out into the field, said the horse’s owner, Eileen Stevens, of Golden Maples Farm in Cassidy.

“My horse is very badly injured, she’s missing her left ear, but she’s a fighter … and she’s going to recover,” Stevens said.

The dogs broke through her stucco wire fence “like it was spaghetti” and Stevens spotted them outside her door when she went to take her horse for its morning walk. After she realized what was happening, she phoned her brother who came right away, and the two of them tried to fight off the dogs with a walker and a broom.

“It was so frightening because it was all happening so fast, but it seemed like so long…” Stevens said. “I just wish I could stop the pictures in my head. To see her running and then when that dog got her ear, part of me says, thank God I don’t have full hearing because I couldn’t hear her scream. Because horses will scream.”

Stevens said she decided to talk to the media about the incident both to correct some misinformation that was spreading, and also to let people know about the dog owner’s response. She said he surrendered his animals to be euthanized and is paying all her veterinary bills.

“It’s such an unfortunate accident because this man has lost his two dogs now and they’re family pets…” Stevens said. “I know his pain, because I’ve had to put animals down before and I’m just hoping and praying that we don’t have to do that with HaliBerry, that she’s going to pull out of this.”

The horse is going to survive, said Colin Scruton, equine surgeon at Equerry Equine Surgery and Sports Medicine hospital in Nanaimo. He said if the bites near a joint had become infected, or if the bites had punctured the abdomen, “then yes, it could have been worse, but no, it wasn’t worse.”

Scruton said although treating a horse for dog bites isn’t common, it comes down to wound management. Cleaning up the wounds took a long time and the horse was given antibiotics.

“Our next challenge is to allow the wounds time to heal and hopefully where there once was an ear canal, for the wound to [heal] so at some point we can skin graft it in the future,” he said.

Scruton said psychologically, the horse seems normal.

“She was in a lot of pain and suffering and shock for the first day, but she’s very interactive [now],” he said. “I have photos of her playing with my son yesterday.”

READ ALSO: Pit bulls were put down after they attacked three children

Stevens said she once owned a pit bull “and it was a lovely animal” and said she thinks Monday’s attack was just a case of dogs getting together and having a “pack mentality.”

Stevens said a farrier, who is a friend of hers, has agreed to look after HaliBerry for the time being. Stevens said she might start up a GoFundMe to build a new shed because she’s concerned the existing stall will no longer seem like a safe space for her horse. The therapeutic care HaliBerry has provided will be on hold. Stevens said some people like to brush and talk to the horse, or a two-year-old might just sit on the horse and giggle.

“She’s that gentle. Everybody falls in love with her,” Stevens said.

RELATED: Dog terrorizes Campbell River senior in her home; kills family cat

RELATED: Vancouver Island council removes breed-specific clauses from animal bylaw



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Financial literacy program expands across the Fraser Valley

Big Brain Literacy Program aims to help folks thwarted by the pandemic and in need of budgeting help

Missing Maple Ridge man’s car found in Harrison

Michael Denham has been missing since June 27

UFV grads of 2020 honoured in innovative ways

No convocation ceremony due to pandemic, but grads receive ‘celebration box’

Mission virtual Canada Day celebration available online

Mayor pleasedwith how video turned out

Abbotsford Flea Market reopening on Sunday

Market has been closed since March 8 due to the COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. homeowners plead for action on condo insurance crisis

Strata property fees growing bigger than mortgage payments

Indigenous man behind complaint of BC Transplant’s alcohol abstinence policy has died

David Dennis, who is Nuu-chah-nulth, argued that six-month sobriety policy is a ‘lethal form of racism’

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Urge travellers to follow COVID-19 rules in a ‘gentle way’: B.C.’s top doctor

Cases surging in the U.S. have B.C. officials hoping the border stays shut all summer

Fraser Valley Bandits complete 2020 coaching staff

Four names added for the 2020 CEBL season, which begins on July 26 for the club

Pubs accused of ‘negligently’ serving alcohol before Surrey traffic crash

The case concerns an Aug. 2, 2015 single-vehicle crash

96-year-old woman scales B.C. butte with help of family, friends

‘I did as I was told and I enjoyed every minute of it’

Parallel crises: How COVID-19 exacerbated B.C.’s drug overdose emergency

Part 1: Officials say isolation, toxic drug supply, CERB, contributing to crisis

Most Read