One horse mauled to death, another injured in gruesome attack

This photo shows Ellen Harley's three-year-old granddaughter Natalie Worley with miniature horse Majik, killed Saturday, and Majik's inseparable companion, Chance, who was wounded. — Photo courtesy of Ellen Harley

A miniature horse named Majik is dead, and another named Chance is recovering from his wounds, following a vicious daylight mauling at an Edgartown farm Saturday off Meeting House Way. Edgartown animal control officer Barbra Prada suspects a large, powerful dog that remains unidentified and a threat to animals and the public is responsible for the attack.

Edgartown authorities have asked nearby residents to be vigilant. Ms. Prada has called area farmers and horse owners and cautioned them to keep a close watch on their animals and call 911 if they have any information.

Ellen Harley, owner of a farm at 40 Meetinghouse Way in Edgartown said her barn manager Danielle Fogg went to the farm Saturday morning to feed her three horses and the two mini-horses, Majik and Chance, a gelding owned by Kirsten Davy.

The horses were placed in one pasture and the two miniatures in a separate pasture for the day. A stock fence designed to keep animals out surrounded the entire pasture.

Ms. Davy had lent Chance to Ms. Harley to keep Majik company, Ms. Harley said in a telephone call Saturday night from Charlestown, South Carolina. “She [Majik] was a very small, very loving mini,” Ms. Harley said. “And they were just inseparable. He [Chance] always put himself in front of her when you walked in because he always wanted to protect her. He was very protective of her.”

Ms. Fogg returned to the farm earlier than usual to bring the horses in for the night because of the threat of rain. At the pasture she came upon a horrific scene.

Majik was lying on her side dead. Her face had been ripped off. Chance had bite wounds on his face and neck. “He was obviously trying to protect her,” Ms. Harley said.

A killer pet

Longtime Edgartown animal control officer Barbara Prada said the dog that killed Majik jumped over a 4-foot fence and was intent on a kill.

“The dog went right for the horse’s jugular,” Ms. Prada told The Times. “There are no bite marks on the legs like it chased it and pulled it down. So this animal was experienced, I think.”

Most often, dogs chase an animal first, almost as part of a game, she said. “But to go right for the jugular and pull this miniature down, it had to be a big strong dog that knew what it was doing,” she said. “It’s very scary.”

Ms. Prada said the dog likely has killed before. She thinks it is likely new to the Island or she would have had some previous contact with the dog. She suspects the dog may belong to a seasonal home owner down for the weekend or a transient worker.

Ms. Prada said pet owners never suspect their own pet could be capable of a violent attack but they are wrong. “I’m sure its somebody’s pet,” she said.

Ms. Prada said if children had been nearby at the time and tried to intervene they could have been attacked. She asked anyone with any information to call 911.

Edgartown police officer William Bishop said it was a “gruesome” scene.

A lack of any witnesses has made follow up difficult. “Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot to go on,” officer Bishop said. Mr. Bishop said the public should be alert to any stray dogs and call police with any information.

The death of her beloved miniature pony has left Ms. Harley shaken and concerned for her neighbors. “Whatever it was, it is going to kill something else,” Ms. Harley said. “It’s not finished. There’s something out there that’s vicious. We are really concerned about the community.”