NANAIMO, B.C. — A miniature horse that was mauled by two dogs on Vancouver Island is making a good recovery and is due to be released from a veterinary clinic, but her caretaker says the animal faces a long road to recovery.
Eileen Stevens said her 76-centimetre-tall horse, Hali Berry, was attacked in its corral Monday when two pit bulls broke out of a fenced, neighbouring property south of Nanaimo.
Hali's left ear was completely severed, and she suffered other deep bites and gashes, but Stevens said the little horse is doing well.
"She's so bright. She's got her voice back. She's talking to anyone who comes around at the vet's hospital," said Stevens in a phone interview from her hobby farm.
"She's kind of her own personality, you know?"
Stevens, who is recovering from open heart surgery and suffers other health issues, was at home when the dogs attacked.
She said her own voice was just getting back to normal after all the screaming she did while trying to save the horse, and she complicated her own recovery by using her walker to try to fend off the dogs.
"Monday was just a bad combination of a whole lot of things," said Stevens.
The horse will be released to a friend's property where there is an enclosed stall that will keep her warm and dry.
Hali Berry faces further surgeries and skin grafts to create a new ear canal because the ear can't be reattached.
However, Stevens says she expects the registered therapeutic horse will soon return to her role of bringing joy to others.
As for the neighbouring farmer whose dogs attacked the horse, Stevens said he immediately surrendered the dogs to be euthanized and offered to pay all the vet bills.
"He's a very, very kind man, he's a good man," she said, adding he is grieving the loss of his dogs and she wants to "make it right" and prevent anyone from blaming him.
"But Hali Berry is going to be OK."
This report from the Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19. 2019