UPDATE: The horse with the most severe injuries, "Daddy's Girl," died Wednesday night, said Alaska Bird and Farm Animal Rescue operator Casey Jones Andrescu.
Anchorage animal control officers are investigating a report of dogs mauling a 30-inch miniature horse at an East Anchorage animal rescue and petting farm, the city says.
"The first thing I saw, the pit bull had my little, tiniest horse here, he had her by the lips," said Casey Jones Andrescu, who runs the nonprofit Alaska Bird and Farm Animal Rescue with her husband.
Jones Andrescu learned of the attack at about 4 p.m. Tuesday when a neighbor banged on her door on East 22nd Avenue, off Boniface Parkway. A second dog was also involved in the attack, which left three horses injured, she said.
Jones Andrescu said she grabbed her shovel and gripped it like a baseball bat, whacking one of the dogs across the head. "I came down with both hands as hard as I could, and he started bleeding and took off."
Neighbors heard the noise and, armed with golf clubs, came to help, Jones Andrescu said.
Animal Control spokeswoman Brooke Taylor said the city caught one of the animals and is investigating the attack.
She described the dogs as pit bull mixes.
A 4-year-old miniature horse named Daddy's Girl suffered the most serious injuries, with bite wounds to the face, jaw and legs, Jones Andrescu said.
Parts of the horse's face are severely damaged and a veterinarian spent four hours "sewing and stitching" the wounds, she said. The horse may die, the veterinarian told her.
Jones Andrescu said the city told her an identification chip in the captured dog gave animal control officers a lead on the owners. Taylor said she couldn't comment on details of the investigation.
The attack also injured a miniature horse named Hero Harley and another named Star of Bethlehem, Jones Andrescu said.
Children often come to pet the animals, which are sometimes used in parades or to visit nursing homes, she said.
The city can place certain restrictions on pets that have attacked animals or people, Taylor said. For example, owners may be required to place dogs on short leashes or to muzzle the animal when the dog leaves the owner's property, Taylor said.
Animals that attack other pets are rarely killed by the city, although they may be euthanized at the request of the owners, she said.
Call Kyle Hopkins at 257-4334 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.