CURRITUCK COUNTY, N.C. — For the third time in the past week, a pet dog has harassed or chased a wild horse on the beaches of Corolla. In one case, the dog bit a horse according to The Corolla Wild Horse Fund.
“It’s a very dangerous situation. People should take responsibility of their animals and have control over them at all times,” said Gene Snow who, along with his wife Donna, is in charge of Virginia Wild Horse Rescue.
They were alarmed, angered and saddened when they saw the video of a dog, off leash, running toward the wild horses.
“These horses are naturally in the wild, and, with a stallion there, they are very protective. With a dog chasing him, at any point, that animal can attack the dog or run over the people,” said Gene Snow.
It is illegal for dogs to be off leash in Currituck County. Under the law, not even people are allowed within 50 feet of the horses.
“They are wild animals. They need to be respected, and you need to stay your distance,” said Donna. “These wild horses don’t really like dogs. They don’t do really well with dogs.”
The Snows said if this behavior continues, the wild horses will naturally start looking at dogs as a threat, and then every dog, leash or no leash, will be in danger.
“[The horses will] Start attacking dogs on people’s lawns, on their porches, walking down the street, anything,” said Gene.
A spooked horse is unpredictable and aggressive. If an innocent person is in their path, they could be trampled.
“The saddest thing would be once they cause it to happen, where these horses will be a danger to the people, they could be removed,” said Gene.
It’s a herd that is already shrinking, only about 100 horses are left in Corolla.
“These horses are part of our national heritage. They have been here for over 400 years. They deserve to be left alone and run wild,” said Gene.