In late December, Orange County resident Isaac Ibarra buried his daughter's mini horse "Prince" after it was attacked by dogs.
Prince was born on his daughter's birthday, the family considered him a pet, but the State of Florida considered him livestock. When two pit bulls entered his pen in December and bit him to death, there was nothing that could be done to stop the dogs from attacking again; which they did.
"He was laid down on the ground as the picture shows," says Isaac as he refers to a series of pictures showing family digging a grave on the family's land to lay the horse to rest.
Weeks after Isaac's children said their farewells to Prince, the family's other horse, a full grown paso fino, was attacked in its pen. The paso fino was put up for the night when the two dogs entered its enclosure and began to bite it. The noise made by the fight stirred the family who came out and found the same two dogs fleeing the pen.
Orange County Animal Control eventually trapped the two pit bulls and traced them back to their owner, however, according to Orange County Ordinances and Florida State Law, dogs can only be labeled as dangerous if they attack a person or a domesticated animal like a cot or another
dog, not a horse.
"We do not have provisions to pick up dogs because livestock was attacked," says Diane Summers of Orange County Animal Services. "Our county code makes it clear we handle domestic issues."
"It's very scary, they've cornered me on my pool deck before," said Melissa Davideit, an Orange County Resident who lives near the Ibarra home.
Davideit and other neighbors say they have seen the same two pit bulls that attacked the horses run across their property on several occasions. Neighbors say the dogs are aggressive and are concerned that since the dogs have shown a willingness to attack other animals, it will only be a matter of time before they target something else.
Eyewitness News contacted
Florida Rep. Randolph Bracy, D-Orange County, whose district includes the Ibarra family, to ask if he would consider proposing legislation to change the law, perhaps allowing animal control to review any dog that killed another animal. In a written statement Bracy said, "If legislation came to the House floor to close this loophole, I would support that legislation."
For now, the pit bulls are back with their owner who has been cited by the county and could face civil action from the Ibarra family.