Crime & Courts

Wichita officials plan to charge pit bulls' owner in pony attack

Wichita officials plan to bring charges against the owner of two pit bulls that mauled Storm, a pony from the pony ride at O.J. Watson Park.

The dogs are being held by police as dangerous animals and the owner will have to build a secure enclosure and have it inspected by the city before getting the dogs back, said Dennis Graves, animal control supervisor.

Storm continues to respond well to treatment, said veterinarian Jenny Sullivan, who is volunteering her services to care for him.

"What we're really pleased with is his eating is right back to normal," Sullivan said. "He seems to be in good spirits."

Storm is one of seven ponies owned by the city and used to provide rides to children at the park.

The dogs were loose and got into the park's pony shelter, where they attacked Storm early June 11.

He was rescued by volleyball players who were preparing for a tournament and heard the commotion.

The 4-year-old pony suffered a large gash to his flank and several serious puncture wounds to his neck and face.

Sullivan, of the Blair Doon Veterinary Clinic in southeast Wichita, said Storm seems to be healing fairly well and should be able to return to his home at the park in about another week.

She said she's still treating him with antibiotics to prevent infection, but has cut his pain medication back to a dose a day.

However, Sullivan said it may take longer than the four to six weeks she originally estimated before Storm can carry children on his back again.

Some skin from the triangular gash in his side, which she stitched back in place, is sloughing off, meaning it will be a longer healing process for new skin to grow over the wound, she said.

Animal Control, a division of the Police Department, has contacted city prosecutors and notified the dogs' owner that charges will be brought in Municipal Court, Graves said.

He said he could not release the owner's name or the exact nature of the charges until they are filed.

Police Lt. Doug Nolte said many of Storm's well-wishers have sent money toward his care, building a fund of about $650.

"It has been a nice community gesture," he said.

City officials have estimated that Sullivan is providing about $2,500 worth of services.

But Sullivan said she won't accept payment for taking care of Storm.

She said she's putting the money that people have sent to the clinic into a medical fund to help the city provide veterinary care for all the park ponies.

"I think this will be a nice little nest egg... if something comes up at another time with the ponies," she said.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle