A Worthing woman has urged dog owners to be more aware after her horse suffered ‘life-changing’ injuries in a savage attack.
Maria Beves, 19, said she went onto Hangleton Farm in Ferring to bring her horse, Garbo, in for the night when she found it covered in blood and severely traumatised.
“I called her name, but she wasn’t coming,” she said.
“When I found her she was absolutely crippled. Lame. I shone a torch on her leg and she was covered in blood.
"I'm absolutely devastated. No animal should be put through that."
Maria said Garbo, who is seven years old, had a bite to its stomach that measured around eight inches across.
It also had lacerations to its legs, including a bite down to the bone of its left hind leg that the vet said could be ‘life-changing’.
Although she did not witness the attack, Maria said she and her vet were in no doubt it was from a dog.
The trauma of the ordeal meant Garbo had to receive five doses of sedative, where usually one would suffice.
“She was so traumatised,” said Maria, who lives in Ilex Way in Worthing.
“I don’t even know if she will be able to stay on this land because she’s so frightened. She will have been chased and ran away, she won’t have just stood still.”
Maria said there was no way the dog owner would have been unaware of the attack, as the dog would have returned covered in blood.
Dog attacks on horses are unfortunately a common occurrence, she said, but rather than apportion blame Maria wants to use the experience as a lesson to dog walkers.
“I want there to be awareness,” she said.
“I want dog owners to be aware of the consequences of letting their animals off the lead near horses. She is a feisty animal but if a dog decides it wants to attack a horse, there’s not a lot the horse can do.
“I would like the council to put more signs up around the farm and public places saying to keep dogs on their leads.”
When not at university, Maria would ride with Garbo in showjumping competitions. She said she feared the extent of the horse’s injuries, particularly to the hind leg, may signal the end of its career.
At the very least, it will be confined indoors for around four weeks.
The vet worked for more than three hours treating the animal, with several follow-up treatments planned. Maria is hoping her insurance will come through, but if not the bills could run to over £500.
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