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Animal attacks have eastern Wake pet owners on edge

Posted March 18, 2012

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— A vicious attack on a miniature horse last week, coming just days after a wild animal seriously injured a chocolate lab, has animal owners in eastern Wake County on the lookout.

Leslie and Ken Presson's miniature horse named Mr. Butters was attacked a few feet from their Clayton home last Monday morning. 

Leslie Presson was home at the time but didn't hear anything. The first the couple knew of the attack was when they found the horse covered in blood.

"This was an unlucky little horse that sustained a lot of trauma," said equine surgeon Matthew Gerard, with the North Carolina State University Animal Veterinary Center.

Even the horse's blanket was torn apart. "These straps are triple Velcro, very hard to open. This one was completely broken," Ken Presson said.

The couple rushed Mr. Butters to the N.C. State veterinary hospital. 

Miniature horse attacked in eastern Wake County Miniature horse attacked in eastern Wake County

Veterinarians say the miniature horse lost about 25 percent of his blood, necessitating a transfusion. The horse is on IV antibiotics to prevent its wounds from getting infected. It is expected to take two to three months to recover.

"He's very special to us," Leslie Presson said.

The Pressons have suspicions about what attacked their miniature horse.

A day later, Ken Presson saw two dogs leaving the woods near the house and heading toward the area where Mr. Butters was attacked.

"My guess is they were coming back to finish the job," he said.

It's not clear if the incident is related to the attack by a wild animal on two dogs in a pen outside a Wendell home on March 10. A chocolate lab was seriously injured. Its owners believe it was attacked by coyotes.

North Carolina wildlife officials say they have not seen a big increase in the number of coyote sightings.

They urged people to keep their small pets indoors as a precaution.


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  • doggykisses Mar 22, 2012

    I had a coyote run out in front of me on 440 this morning around 8:10am. I also had a friend hit one a couple of weeks ago!! They are out there. It is a good possibilty they are the attackers.

  • Nette Mar 20, 2012

    Me and a shot gun would be camping out with Mr. Butters - I know you can't bring him inside, but please keep him safe!

  • Nette Mar 20, 2012

    this story really breaks my heart - as a animal lover i hurt for Mr. Butters I wish only the best for him and hopefully with love and med. he can fight back again! I hope that WRAL will keep us posted on him!

  • amos Mar 20, 2012

    I do want to address the notion that this was the work of coyote..because the very next day, two border collies (or mix) were IN OUR BARN attempting to attack a mare through her stall guard, and because the SAME DOGS appeared running toward Mr Buttes' paddock that night, and these same dogs have been running deer in the woods as we learned from a neighbor who was worried about them a month ago but didn't mention it, the evidence in this case truly points to feral dogs.. look at the video, look at our house and realize that when Mr Butters was found at 915, he had nearly bled out...coyotes could have easily laid around to eat him...semi domestic dogs simply attacking out of mainly sport or nature (as herding dogs can do) would have logically been distracted by a number of things including people driving down the street...hungry coyotes could have easily finished him by simply waiting...but, the "return to the scene of the crime " evidence is too hard to ignore..we had not ever previousl

  • amos Mar 20, 2012

    We wish to thank all who have expressed concern and support for Mr Butters...he was rescued from starvation in 2005..he was emaciated and his feet had never been done..he needed chiropractic adjustments to walk correctly again...he blossomed into a delight, loved by all who met him...this is devastating for us in every sense..we regret the callous "circle of life" comments..."circle of life" is a mustang being taken down by a puma on the plains...we live in a well populated area, our fencing is lined in mesh with electricity and boards ...This horrible situation now seems very much the work of dogs that were once domestic that for whatever reason, have been abandoned to run wild and develop a pack mentality and bloodlust..Mr Butters is literally a ray of sunshine that fought so hard for his life not once, but now twice as we didn't know if he would recover from his neglect as a two year old...we hope to have a Mr Butters Bazaar or yard sale as he will continue to require medical assist

  • byrd Mar 20, 2012

    I live on the orange/alamance county line and I see coyotes a couple of times a week. At night you can hear them. A year ago I dodn't even know there were coyotes in the area.

  • mgalgoci2 Mar 19, 2012

    On ten-ten, just east of Holland church, there was a road kill coyote no less than a month ago. I saw it many times as I commuted to and from work. I am quite sure it was a coyote and not a domestic or wild dog. Folks, I hate to say it but coyotes are living large in southern Wake co.

  • dontstopnow Mar 19, 2012

    This is truly a worthless article that only excites people with multiple personal theories since there is no proof or suggestion in the article that either points to or eliminates any idea about what happened and what did it.

    I wish WRAL would stop posting these sort of stories to get the public so worked up and frightened about the "Big bad boogie man" or animal in this case.

  • wraldvg Mar 19, 2012

    "A pack of coyotes pulled 35' of it OUT OF THE GROUND and they drug the flex drain into the woods"

    That's a good one. Tell us another one. Karmageddon

    I've personally seen two dogs pull about 15 foot of drainpipe out of the ground to get at something. That's not at all farfetched imo.

  • wraldvg Mar 19, 2012

    I suspect goferit is correct, especially regarding the labs. I don't see any of those attacking 2 large healthy dogs (and Earnhardt is a big boy!) unless the environment was extremely depleted of easier prey. I'd bet that the dogs broke out of the pen to go after whatever it was, rather than the other way around. I'd like to see the other animal; I'd bet it didn't get away unscathed. Dogs can be very protective of their territory. And that is not meant to be a criticism of the labs in any way. A confident dog is protective of it's home by nature.

    I wonder if the marks on the rear of the horse are actually bite (tear) marks from dogs trying to bring it down from behind, the preferred attack method for a canid.