A miniature pony is dead after being attacked by three reported pit bulls on Sunday at the Fire & Ice Horse Farm.
Piper sustained severe injuries to his eyes and throat in the attack and died Monday at 5 a.m. Lake City Animal Control has seized one of the three reported pit bulls.
He was popularly known in his community as a rehabilitation animal that helped abused horses adjust to their new life.
Piper gave rides to kids at the local Subway restaurant off U.S. Highway 27 and often provided entertainment for children’s birthday parties.
Annie Martin, owner of Fire & Ice Horse Farm, a horse rescue and retraining facility in Fort White, dedicates her life to rehabilitating malnourished, abused and injured horses. She never thought one of her own would become a victim.
“I went out to feed and I noticed there was blood everywhere,” said Martin. “It’s just hard to believe it happened at home. This time in our own backyard.”
Martin has filed a police report with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department but said Animal Control has not made it clear to Martin whether a case will be opened or any other type legal action will be taken.
Martin urges dog owners to be aware of the consequences of leaving their animals unsecured. With two of the dogs still at large, Martin said she fears a repeat offense.
“It could’ve been a kid. What if my son had been out here when all this happened?” said Martin referencing her 2-year-old son Trenton, who accompanies her every morning to feed the horses. “That’s a big fear now.”
Piper is buried in Martin’s yard, where she intends to build a memorial.
“He’s a family member to us,” she said.
On Saturday, Martin held pony rides in Piper’s memory near the same local Subway.
Those wishing to pay respects to Piper are welcome to participate or visit his memorial site at Martin’s farm.