Miniature horse recovering at the Saginaw Children’s Zoo after being mauled by two dogs

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SAGINAW, MI – A miniature horse at the Saginaw Children’s Zoo is recovering from severe injuries he sustained in a recent mutilation by two dogs. The dogs, meanwhile, are in quarantine at the Saginaw County Animal Care and Control Center as authorities request that they be euthanized.

At approximately 12:10 p.m. on Nov. 7, animal control officers responded to the zoo at 1730 S. Washington Ave. for the reported attack, said director Bonnie Kanicki. They arrived to find a 15-year-old male miniature horse named Sandman, or Sandy for short, who had suffered extensive bite wounds to his nose, jaw, neck and genital area, Kanicki said.

The offending dogs were then confined to a stall by zoo staff members, Kanicki said.

A zoo vet had heard Sandy and another horse making distressing noises from their enclosure. Going to investigate, she saw two female pit bull mixes hanging from Sandy’s neck, Kanicki said.

“She jumped the fence and started yelling at the dogs,” Kanicki said. “A maintenance man also heard the din and he also jumped the fence and ran to help the horses.”

The two staff members pushed the dogs away and locked them in a stall. Responding animal control officers immediately recognized the two dogs, rounding them up in August as strays. At that point, the dogs’ owner claimed them and was cited for not having the proper license, Kanicki said.

The Saginaw Children’s Zoo’s miniature horses, Image and Sandman, in 2014.

Officers took the dogs to the shelter at 1312 Gratiot Avenue, where they have remained in quarantine since November 14.

Kanicki said she submitted documents to the county civil board requesting a dangerous dog hearing. During such a hearing, the judge hears the testimony of the investigators and the owner of the dogs. The judge then decides if the dogs are too dangerous and should be euthanized.

Kanicki said his office is asking a judge to rule in favor of dog euthanasia.

“It seemed to be very traumatic not only for the miniature horse but also for the staff members who had to put their own safety at risk to save this horse,” she said.

Although the dogs’ owner has not yet obtained a license for his pets, he has been cooperating with investigators, Kanicki said.

“He was looking for these dogs when he learned of the attack that happened at the zoo,” Kanicki said. “He was devastated to learn of the damage the dogs had done to the horse.”

While the zoo is closed for the season to visitors, a veterinarian was on hand and immediately provided care for Sandy.

“Sandy is fine,” Kanicki said. “He’s on his way to recovery.”

She added that it remains unclear how the dogs arrived on zoo property. MLive could not reach Nancy Parker, director of the zoo, for comment.

A date for the dangerous dog hearing is pending.

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