The attack happened about 3:30 p.m. Thursday on Burnett Avenue near Baumann Court, according to the horse’s owner Twila Salvador.
She was inside her house when she heard some commotion coming from outside. Salvador looked out her window to see men running after some dogs running after her horse in her pasture.
Familiar with the two pit bulls that belonged to a neighbor, Salvador called 911.
She later learned that one of the dogs jumped up and bit the horse’s face, and the other bit the horse’s right front leg and latched on until its jaws removed a chunk of muscle, Salvador said.
Salvador’s husband was able to knock one of the dogs loose from the horse with a rake.
Pictures Salvador snapped of the horse before it was euthanized show bloody flesh exposed from missing chunks of skin that had apparently been ripped from the horse during the incident.
Salvador said deputies from the sheriff’s office and the county’s animal control officer responded to the scene and took statements.
The dogs can now be classified as “vicious” by county ordinance after having attacked another animal, according to Salvador. The dogs’ owner reportedly surrendered one of the dogs to authorities, but has not yet done so with the other.
Authorities confirmed that an incident involving the horse and dogs happened Thursday, but Santa Clara County animal control supervisor Albert Escobar declined to provide more details until the investigation is complete.
Salvador and her husband tried to seek treatment for the injured Arabian, Joe.
The horse suffered a broken leg in the attack, but didn’t know it as he ran around the pasture in shock and panic before his owners were able to fully assess the injuries.
When Joe finally calmed down, his owners noticed he was walking funny, and it was later determined that his leg was broken.
“We had to put him down,” Salvador said.
Vicious dogs must live by strict guidelines, but Salvador said it’s still not fair.
“We’re in the county, so we can shoot anything that harasses our livestock. But we did not,” Salvador said. “I was just thinking about saving the horse. To me it just seems wrong. My horses were minding their own business. These dogs get another chance.”
Salvador said she has lived in the rural area of Morgan Hill for 23 years and until has “never been afraid to go outside.”
Her other horse is older than Joe but healthier, which is likely why the dogs were able to catch up to the 23-year-old Arabian first.
Sorrely, Salvador’s 34-year-old quarter horse, “is so lonely” now that the Arabian is gone.