A foal has been left with only one ear being attacked by a dog.
Gigolo, a 9-month-old colt was attacked in his stable in Co Londonderry, Northern Ireland by Taz, a Staffordshire bull terrier.
When owner Claire Allinson visited the stable at 10am on 27 December she found the foal covered in blood with its ear hanging off.
“Taz must have gone mad, Gigolo had gashes under his jaw and his bottom lip was torn,” she said.
“The dog was cowering in the corner looking sheepish and covered in blood. I called the vet and just sat with the foal as he was in shock.”
Taz belonged to a neighbour and Mrs Allinson said he would often go into the stable and sleep with the foal.
“I can only think that the foal rolled on it while he was sleeping and the dog went for him as it was totally out of character,” she added. “Four of my young children were with me and are all traumatised by what they saw.”
Vet Sarah Ross from Drumahoe Veterinary clinic stitched the ear back on, but after a few days the tissue had died so it was removed.
Warning: graphic image View picture of the injured horse
Ms Ross told H&H: “He really was in a sorry state but he is doing remarkably well. We were slightly concerned about his ear canal being exposed but we just have to wait and see how it heals, and so far so good. His balance and hearing also seem unaffected.
“We’ve seen dog attacks before but not to this extent but I would advise people keep dogs and horses apart unless they are their pets and know how they will behave.”
Gigolo is now off medication but is still checked daily by the vet.
Mrs Allison said: “He’s recovering well and luckily it doesn’t seem to have effected him too much — he’s not even scared of dogs. He’s such a soft, sweet foal.”
The dog was put down as soon as the vet arrived.
According to British Horse Soceity (BHS) figures four horses were reported dead and six injured last year.
And last March a spate of dog attacks led the BHS to launch a report form, urging victims to contact them (news, 6 March 08).
A spokesman for the BHS said: “This unfortunate incident illustrates just how careful you need to be in your own yard to prevent wandering/stray dogs from getting into your stables to prevent incidences like this from happening”