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Horse escapes with minor injuries in pitbull attack

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A horse escaped with only minor wounds after a run-in with a pitbull at the Bel Air shopping center on Highway 49 in Auburn Tuesday evening.

Owner Steve Cadwell had left the animal tied to a tree in front of Jamba Juice when witnesses say the pitbull jumped out of a car window and approached.  

“The horse was very calm at first,” said Britnai Sanysidro, a Jamba Juice employee. “Then the pitbull tried to bite the horse’s legs. … The horse was getting tied up in the rope and was falling and thrashing around and kicking up dust and dirt. It was horrific to watch.”

Sanysidro estimates the attack went on for a couple of minutes as onlookers and the people who had the dog in the car, who had come out of a nearby business, tried to separate the two animals.

Cadwell, who was at the Verizon store and didn’t witness the attack, said the horse finally kicked the dog “about 15 feet” and that’s when the people who were transporting the dog were able to get the pitbull back into the car.

“As soon as they got the dog, they put it into the car and drove off,” Sanysidro said.

She described the vehicle as a small white Honda and said witnesses were able to obtain the license plate number.

Placer County Sheriff’s Sgt. Paul Nichols said that when deputies arrived, Animal Control was already at the scene.

“The owners of the pitbull had left prior to our arrival,” he said. “The pitbull apparently attacked the horse that was tied to a tree.”

Follow-up will be handled by Animal Control, he added.

Placer County Animal Control Officer Rick Stout said only that the investigation was continuing and that additional details would be available Wednesday.

After the attack, the horse had a streak of blood on one ankle and Cadwell planned to stop at a nearby veterinary clinic to have the animal looked at on the way home, he said. 

He refused at least one offer to have the horse transported.

He said he is a Vietnam veteran and maintains 12 horses as a form of therapy, adding that he has been riding Cinnamon, which he described as half Arab and a quarter horse, to the center daily for the past two weeks.

“The best way to train a horse is to ride him and train him every day,” he said. “I’ve never had trouble. I’ve always done this. … I walk him if it is dangerous. I don’t ride down the side of the road. I go the back ways.”

He said he’s had Cinnamon a couple of years and bringing the animal into the community is a way of “training him and getting him gentled.”

Once the pitbull’s owners are identified, Cadwell said he planned to press charges “because the dog is dangerous.”

For additional information, see Thursday’s Journal.