Pony mauled by pit bulls in Sherman
Letter carrier, state trooper subdue pit bulls
By John Pirro
Posted: 04/01/2009 09:27:38 PM EDT
SHERMAN -- The silence was eerie, letter carrier Anna Walsh said, as the pony raced around its paddock on Route 39 Wednesday, two pit bulls running alongside, leaping and biting the larger animal's mane, tail and neck.
"There was no barking, no noise," Walsh said. "It was like when you watch Wild Kingdom, when the lions bring down the water buffalo."
But thanks to Walsh and State Trooper Rupert De Los Reyes, who responded within minutes of Walsh's call to 911, the pony is alive, although severely injured, and is being treated at an animal hospital in Patterson, N.Y., owner Michael Robbins said Thursday.
"She (Walsh) is the hero," Robbins said. "We went to the post office this morning and hugged her. Without her, our horse would have been dead."
Regional Animal Control Officer Audrey McKay said the dogs, which escaped from a New Fairfield home Wednesday afternoon, have been impounded while the incident is under investigation.
Walsh, a Sherman woman who has been a letter carrier for eight years, was putting mail in a box across from the Robbins residence at about 1 p.m. when she saw the 13-year-old pony, named Billy, running around the paddock with a dog in pursuit.
Because the Robbins family also owns a dog, her initial thought was the animals were playing.
"Then I saw the dog latch on to the horse," she said.
Walsh quickly called 911, then drove into the Robbins' yard, yelling and screaming at the pit bulls, to no avail.
Within four minutes, De Los Reyes, who had been patrolling about a mile away, was on the scene, she said.
The trooper entered the enclosure, service revolver in one hand, baton in the other, but because the dogs were so close to the horse, he couldn't get off a clean shot, Robbins said he was told by the trooper.
So the trooper clubbed the dogs repeatedly until they finally loosened their grip, then yelled for Walsh to lead the pony to safety.
"He just took control of the situation," Walsh said.
By the time Michael Robbins and his wife, Jeannie, arrived, the yard was filled with police cruisers and neighbors.
Also present was the dogs' owner, John Lukse, who lives about a quarter-mile away.
"He was very apologetic," said Robbins. "He said he had been raking leaves and the dogs got out of their pen when his wife opened the door."
Several telephone calls left for Lukse on Thursday weren't returned.
Robbins said the pony belongs to his 9-year-old daughter, Katie, who was at school when her pet was attacked.
"She rides him and loves him and feeds him. I'm almost in tears thinking about it," Robbins said.
Billy suffered severe injuries to his face, one eye and legs. He is intensive care at New England Equine Practice in Patterson, N.Y., but is expected to survive, he said.
Robbins said he plans to write a letter to De Los Reyes's commanding officer, praising the trooper for his actions.
"This could have been a million times worse if it weren't for the quick actions of everybody involved," Jeannie Robbins said.
Walsh said the incident had left her shaken, but she shrugged off the Robbins' comments that she acted heroically.
"Anybody who saw it would have done the same thing," she said.
Contact John Pirro
or at (203) 731-3342.