Family devastated after dogs kill mini-horse in their own backyard

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 6:38 PM EDT
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AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’re hearing from a family in Aiken County devastated after they say dogs killed one of their mini-horses. The owners say this problem isn’t new and they’re ready for something to do be done to keep it from happening again.

“Nyoki had become part of our family and we really loved him,” said Toren Elsen, owner of the horse.

Like many of us, Elsen and his family live and breathe for their pets.

“It was really hard to deal with,” said Elsen.

Over the weekend, their mini-horse was attacked and killed in their backyard.

“I was going over to his field to give him some more hay and he normally runs up to the fence to excitedly get hay and I could tell something was wrong because he wasn’t coming up,” he said.

That’s when Elsen went down the hill and saw their horse Nyoki laying in the field not moving.

“It was one of those things that your brain couldn’t process what you’re seeing,” he said.

He saw two dogs biting and standing over his pet.

“I retreated and got a shovel to help protect me and went back and when I came back it was clear he was dead and I couldn’t save him,” he said.

The family says dogs have been an issue in the area. He says his partner has been chased two different times while riding on their horse.

In Aiken County, we’ve seen this happen twice in 2019 and once this year. A family lost two mini horses, a goat, and a pony, and a woman was attacked back in June.

“I want justice for Nyoki but I also feel like this is an issue that Aiken really needs to address,” said Elsen.

Dangerous animals have to be registered in Aiken County and in the state. Back in June, not a single animal in the county was on the list.

“I think we really need to address the danger that could come from loose dogs and making sure that people don’t just get slaps on the wrists and are allowed to continue on having violent dogs,” he said.

If an owner knows the dog could attack something they are responsible to keep their pets secured or risk a citation.

“Make sure that you don’t let your pets hurt and destroy the lives of another family,” he said.

Nyoki was just rescued from a kill pen in Oklahoma about six months ago. The family says he was just starting to trust humans again.

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