Riverview, Florida - A girl and her pony -- Josie and her miniature horse Princess have been inseparable this last year.
"She fed him every day, she watered him every day, she cleaned up his poop every day," says Deborah Johnson, Josie's grandmother.
Princess is Johnson's Christmas gift to her granddaughter. She says, "That's the only thing she wanted for Christmas last year, a pony, what I got her."
Monday morning, a next-door neighbor witnessed two pit bull-like dogs attack Princess in her backyard off Melissa Court.
Johnson said, "The neck was chewed out, ear chewed up, leg chewed up. [There was] no saving her ... [we] put her down."
On Monday afternoon, about half a mile from Johnson's home, Hillsborough County Animal Control picked up Peso as one of the two dogs suspected in the attack.
"It's a case of mistaken identity. There are a lot of pit bulls here," said Karriean Ingram, Peso's owner.
Peso's owners say he was in his kennel all morning and they say he's never attacked another animal.
"If he was going to eat something, he's got breakfast in the backyard," said Ingram.
"He's been the best dog I've ever had," said Jose Molina, Ingram's fiancé. "He's never attacked any animal here."
The couple has two horses, about a dozen chickens and roosters, several ducks, cats, dogs, and rabbits.
Peso will be kept in quarantine for 10 days at animal services to check for rabies and while animal services continue to investigate.
Ron Spiller with Hillsborough County Code Enforcement said Peso may get a break. He said, "Based on state statute, animals attacking another animal does not constitute a dangerous dog. It takes two incidents."
According to code enforcement, Ingram's dog probably won't be euthanized; that's the good news. The bad news, they say, is there is still a pit bull running loose in that Riverview neighborhood responsible for attacking Princess the miniature horse.
Several homeowners complain dogs running loose in the neighborhood are a common problem.
Code enforcement officials say the dog attack on the pony could have been prevented. "It's avoidable if people control their animals, love their animals the way they should. You should secure them properly," said Spiller.
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