RIVERVIEW, Fla - Hillsborough County Animal Service officers say two pit bulls mauled a pony Monday morning in Riverview. The pony, named Princess, had to be euthanized.
Officers are still looking for one dog but believe they have the other in quarantine.
It happened around 10:30 a.m. at 13108 Melissa Court in Riverview.
"It was trembling with shock," said James Baxley, a horse breeder.
"I've been around horses forever and that is the most gruesome I've seen ever."
Baxley rushed to the Riverview home to help but ended up having to euthanizing Princess. She suffered severe injuries to the head and neck.
"Oh I was upset but I hold my tears in," said Deborah Johnson, who gifted the pony to her five-year-old granddaughter last year for Christmas.
The owners of the pony say the dogs dug a hole under their fence and got into their yard.
Johnson's granddaughter, Josie, has not been told her beloved pet was put down and buried.
"I don't know what to tell my baby," Johnson added.
A neighbor, who spoke through an interpreter, told officers she witnessed the attack and identified Peso, a neighbor's pit bull, as one of the attacking dogs.
"They saw what they saw," said Ron Spiller with Hillsborough County Code Enforcement.
"The animals left and they followed the animal, who we have here in custody, back to the residence where it was picked up."
Peso's owner, Carrie An Ingram, showed up at the home on Melissa Court just minutes after her dog was taken into custody. A confrontation ensued where Ingram denied her dog was involved in the attack, noting that with the brutality of the attack, it was odd that her dog had no traces of blood on him.
Ingram and her husband showed up to Hillsborough County Animal Services Monday night with pictures showing Peso playing with their other animals, including new puppies, baby chickens, two horses and a bunny.
Ingram also showed ABC Action News a picture of the kennel she say they keep Peso in. It is raised up on concrete slabs and completely enclosed by fencing. She added that her husband was in the yard with Peso and he is never allowed in their yard alone.
"This is my dog and I know he didn't do it," declared Ingram.
Spiller said there is no way for them to run a test to determine if Peso is one of the responsible dogs. He said they will go off of witness accounts and observations.
Peso will be quarantined for the next 10 days to check for rabies, Spiller explained.
He added that animal control officers will also continue investigating and talking to other neighbors about dogs in the area.
Under Florida law, Peso cannot be taken away from his owners unless their is documented proof Peso has bit an animal before.
Ingram said her dog has no biting history. She expects to have him returned home following the ten day quarantine.
She said she plans to take the case to court if Peso is not returned.
Spiller did not say whether the animal had a history, only that officers would look into the dog's background.
Meanwhile, Ingram says two other dogs in the neighborhood have been responsible for other attacks on animals. She says she has reported them in the past.
Officers say they will look into her claims.