Landrum dogs kill miniature horse, family pet

Published 11:07 am Friday, February 2, 2024

The 3 ½-year-old miniature paint horse was as gentle as her name, “Maggie.” Children climbed on her or snuggled up to her side, making dreams come true. And then the killer dogs came.

Stephanie Morris of Landrum, S.C., was at her home a week ago on Miracle Farm Road where she and her husband Robert live when her phone rang. It was her neighbor screaming that two dogs were attacking Maggie in her pasture next to their home. By the time she got to the fence, the dogs were gone, and it was clear Maggie was gravely injured.  

“By the time I got there,” she said, choking back tears, “she wasn’t even able to stand up. She couldn’t do anything. There was blood everywhere. Her throat and head were all chewed up.”

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She called Tryon Equine Hospital in Columbus, and Dr. Katie Marsh rushed to the scene. Dr. Marsh noted later in her report that Maggie had hundreds of puncture wounds. That’s right. Hundreds. Her once cute ears had been chewed off. One of her legs had been bitten so hard by the powerful jaws of the pit bulls that it was broken.

The doctor’s prognosis hit Stephanie Morris like a ton of bricks. There was no choice but to put Maggie down. She could not be saved. Her pain was too great, her wounds too severe.

Soon she was breathing her last breaths, slipping away from Stephanie and the passel of kids who loved her.

“I told her how much we loved her and how much she would be missed,” Stephanie recalled. And then she was gone.

This wasn’t a case of two dogs roaming far from home. Their owner lives just a few hundred footsteps down the road–a neighbor with five pit bulls.

And this wasn’t the first time it had happened. Just two weeks earlier the dogs killed another miniature horse in the area, Stephanie says.

Stephanie Morris did what any respectable citizen would do. She called the police and Animal Control. “They didn’t do anything. They issued a citation, but nothing else. The dogs didn’t have vaccinations or tags or anything. And the officer said they were covered in blood when he got there.”

So the dogs are still running free, and Stephanie Morris is fearful that they will return while her grandchildren are playing in her front yard.

John Belue, the owner of the two dogs according to Spartanburg County Animal Control Officer David Jorgenson, did not respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, there is no justice for Maggie.

“Maggie,” a pet of the grandchildren of Stephanie Morris of Landrum, was attacked and killed last week by two dogs belonging to a neighbor. (Photo by Stephanie Morris)

Larry McDermott is a local retired farmer/journalist. Reach him at hardscrabblehollow@gmail.com