Dogs maul livestock to death in Marion
'My horror is seeing little kids ripped apart,' witness says
MARION COUNTY, Fla. – Linda Fidler was putting her horse inside its pen Friday afternoon at her Belleview home when she witnessed the most horrible thing she's ever seen.
"The pony was facing me and the dogs were on here ripping at her," Fidler said. "She already had the skin tore off her face and her ear ripped off. And I hollered at 'em and they stopped and looked at me and then went right back at the pony again."
Fidler screamed in horror but the dogs, one cream-colored and one brown, just looked at her, not in a hurry to leave. She described them as resembling pitbulls.
"I can't get it out of my mind even now because they wouldn't leave her alone," Fidler said in tears. "They were just at her. When I finally got (them) to stop for a minute, I think they were going to leave but they didn't. They went right back at her again."
Fidler said she had no choice but to put down the mini horse and lamb after the attack. The lamb belonged to her granddaughter.
"I mainly want them caught because I'm scared to death," Fidler said of the dogs. "The gentleman next door has small kids in his yard. They're obviously out to kill, not just hungry. They're out to kill something. If they get in their yard and little kids are out there, my horror is seeing little kids ripped apart."
She believes the dogs crawled under a fence to enter her yard on Southeast 40th Avenue in Belleview and exited the same way.
Neighbors said most homeowners in rural Belleview own animals, either pets or farm animals.
"It's scary," said neighbor Jenna Thacker. "I've got chickens, that might attract them, and (if) I got out to take care of the chickens, they might go after me. It's actually killed something. If it just growls, that's one thing, but when it tears it apart for no reason, that's different."
Fidler said the dogs also attacked and killed a neighbor's pigs.
Marion County Animal Control said it has been actively patrolling the area and setting traps for the dogs.
"More than likely they are not owned by anyone, though it's possible they had been abandoned in the area," said Elaine Delorio McClain, Marion County public information officer. "Based on the different descriptions, they may also not be the same canines in each attack."
Delorio McClain said on Nov. 16, a caller reported that a pack of dogs killed two llamas. Officers placed traps and patrolled the area for three days but did not find the dogs.
On Nov. 10, a caller reported that a golden-colored dog walking with two other loose dogs tried to attack a person. Officers patrolled for three days but did not find the dogs.
Delorio McClain warned animal owners to be vigilant.
"Marion County Animal Services recommends that if anyone sees dogs at large in the area (per the last case they are described as brown or brindle and a cream-colored one, but there have been various descriptions of the canines in the area) -- to please call Animal Control (at) 352-671-8727," Delorio McClain said.
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