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COWICHE, Wash. -- One horse is dead and another injured after they were attacked Wednesday evening by dogs in a field in the 400 block of Track Road in Cowiche.

Yakima County sheriff’s deputies received a call about 5 p.m. from a 68-year-old man who reported that his horses were being attacked by four pit bull terriers. The man went outside with a shotgun and used the butt of the firearm to strike the dogs, which ran away, sheriff’s spokesman Casey Schilperoort said.

The man called a veterinarian, who advised that one horse should be euthanized. The other horse received treatment for multiple lacerations to its muzzle, Schilperoort said,

The four dogs belonged to the man’s neighbors, a 20-year-old man and 22-year-old woman. The couple told deputies the dogs are kept on the property, which is enclosed by an electric fence, and had somehow gotten out, Schilperoort said.

The couple have decided to euthanize the dogs of their own accord and have offered to pay the medical bills for the horses, Schilperoort said. He said that legally they are not required to do either.

“The dog owners have taken responsibility for the behavior of their dogs,” Schilperoort said.

In the meantime, the dogs have been quarantined on the property and are enclosed in a kennel. The dog owners were also cited for having a level-five dog, meaning one that bites or causes severe injury to a person, or kills a domestic animal or livestock while off the property of its owner.

The couple face fines up to $500 for each dog, a decision that will be made in court. While they could potentially face up to 90 days in jail, Schilperoort said that’s unlikely.

Schilperoort said going back two years, the sheriff’s office had not received any previous calls about the dogs.


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