Another donkey attack

BLYTHEWOOD – A fourth attack on miniature donkeys by dogs in the Blythewood area – and this time with a coyote in the mix – occurred in the early morning hours of Dec. 7, on Boatwright Road off Loner Road.

The two minis that were the target of the attack were not injured, thanks to the quick actions of their owner, Aimee Norris.

“I woke up at 2:30 a.m., Wednesday morning to the sound of dogs barking which I might ordinarily have dismissed and gone back to sleep, but because we had been warned by a neighbor about the recent deadly attacks on minis in the area, I jumped up and saw the dogs through the window near the girls’ pasture,” Norris said.

“By the time I got out the back door, barefooted, they had gotten into the donkey’s pasture and were chasing them,” she said. “I ran back in to get my shotgun, then ran into the pasture to try to fend off the dogs and get my minis into the smaller pasture where I could control the situation.”

The dogs moved to the back of the pasture when I came in yelling at them, but they were circling and barking and all the time I could hear the chattering of a coyote as well as the clinking of tags on a collar,” Norris recounted. “I’m a vet tech, so I’m very aware of that sound.

Regan and Aimee Norris with their two miniature donkeys, Wednesday, left, and Pickles, a few days after they were targeted by dogs on Boatwright Road. The Norrises have since moved their donkeys to a safe place in Lexington.

“At one point I could see a coyote sitting in the corner of the paddock, just sitting there making sounds, as the dogs circled and barked.”

As Norris was struggling to get her terrified donkeys into the smaller enclosure, she said the attackers left the pasture on the back side leaving paw prints and scrapes across the dirt where they had circled.

Norris said she spent the remainder of the night sitting on the back porch with her shotgun at the ready.

Her husband, Regan, who was out of town at the time of the attack, has since filed a report with animal control.

“Had I not been warned about the attacks in our area by a neighbor who lost her donkey to the dogs last month,” Aimee Norris said, “our little minis would most likely have been killed in a horrible way. It all happened so fast. Very scary.”

Norris said that because the attacking dogs were constantly whirling and running, she doesn’t remember much except that she thinks there were two dogs and at least one was a light color and she could hear the clinking of tags through it all.

“The coyote didn’t chase the donkeys,” she said.

Two specific dogs in two of the attacks have been described as a light-colored, splotchy pit bull and a white and black or brown colored dog that resembles a border collie with a collar. Those two dogs and a dark pit bull were also caught on a doorbell video roaming through Holly Bluff neighborhood on Aug. 23.

The owner of a miniature donkey killed by dogs on Nov. 6 on Loner Road witnessed the two dogs as they attacked her donkey and snapped several clear photos of the pit bull in the pasture near her donkey as it lay dying. 

On Aug 15, those two dogs, accompanied by a dark colored pit bull, injured a donkey on Fulmer Road but were interrupted by the owner. That owner told The Voice that on Aug. 21, two different dogs attacked and killed his donkey as he tried to stop the attack.

The owners of the attacked donkeys say help from county officials has been elusive, with no real investigation offered to help find the two dogs who seem to have been involved and identified in all but one of the attacks.

Deputies with the Richland County Sheriff’s department took an incident report on the Loner Road attack, but have told the donkey owners and The Voice that it is animal control, not the sheriff’s department, that has investigative and arresting authority over the attacks, that the sheriff’s department investigates animal cruelty cases and that those cases generally involve humans, such as dogfighting.

Another Loner Road miniature donkey owner, Ron Hart, has posted a $1,000 reward for information leading to the identity of the attacking dogs.

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