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Dogs that allegedly mauled Beaver County family's horse returned to owner

Dogs that allegedly mauled Beaver County family's horse returned to owner
Dogs that allegedly mauled Beaver County family's horse returned to owner 03:27

NEW GALILEE, Pa. (KDKA) -- Two dogs that mauled a Beaver County family's miniature horse have been returned to their owner. The horse succumbed to its injuries on Thursday evening.

Police did not take the dogs away after the violent attack. The chief says the law prevents his department from taking the dogs away.

A family member of the woman who owned the horse relayed the news of the horse's death to KDKA-TV earlier Thursday evening.

Willie, a beloved miniature horse, was violently attacked by two dogs that got loose and into a fenced yard in New Galilee, Beaver County.

"It's ridiculous because after I [saw] the pictures, my wife sent me the pictures, I was in complete shock. I'm thinking, 'Why aren't they taking these dogs? What they did to that horse,'" said neighbor Matt Butler.

Darlington Township Police Chief Brian Speer tells KDKA-TV that they charged the dog's owners under the state's Dog Laws, but released the dogs back to their owner because, under Pennsylvania law, dogs are considered property, and they legally can't remove them.

The state dog warden's office is involved at this point.

A dog warden tells KDKA-TV that a judge would have to deem the dogs dangerous. The owner still has the right to keep the dogs following certain rules

"We cannot remove the dogs. We had been in contact with the state dog officer in the matter. With the court rulings and everything, we would either have to get a court order or that would have to come from them that it's a dangerous dog. And at that point, we could actually remove the dogs," Chief Speer said.

This is not the first time there have been problems with at least one of these dogs.

Chief Speer said that about two months ago, they cited the owner and gave a warning.

"We actually did file charges for dogs running loose. At that time, and ever since, we have not got any reports about the dogs either running loose or attacking anybody or anything from that time on. So, they have not been deemed a dangerous dog at this point."

Even if deemed dangerous, the owner still has the right to keep the dogs while following certain rules.

The owner of the dogs lives up the street from where the attack happened.

KDKA-TV tried to contact the owner of the dogs but did not receive a response.

In the meantime, neighbors feel nervous that the dogs are still around.

"It's ludicrous. These dogs are dangerous. We have a dead horse that has done nothing. I'm very concerned [for my children]," Butler added.

"If they are that dangerous, yeah, it's a problem. I do have grandkids in the yard," neighbor Lorraine Sullivan said.

Chief Speer says the dogs' owner told him they had no control over the dogs, and that it slipped out of its lead after the first incident a few months ago.

After this latest incident, the chief says the owner didn't say much of anything.

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