Couple finds 2 of their miniature horses dead

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DESERT HILLS - A Desert Hills couple has run a miniature horse ranch for 12 years and they say they have never had their animals attacked, much less killed, by other wild life. Now they want to get the word out to others so no one else goes through what they did on Friday.


UNCUT: Woman who's miniature horses were killed - An UNCUT interview with a woman who found two of her miniature horses attacked and neither one made it.

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Joanne Souza admits, "I was just horrified, The terrors these little babies went through. The little babies were, a 4 month old Braveheart and 5-month-old Velcro, named, her owners say, because people would get so attached to her.

Ron Souza adds, "The babies were probably 1/3 of a small horse, probably the size of a full Labrador retriever.

The brother and half-sister miniature horses were growing up happily on Ron and Joann Souza's TLC Ranch in Desert Hills until Thursday night.

When Joanne went to feed them Friday morning, she found a grisly site: the rear legs of both horses were literally torn apart. Braveheart was lifeless and Velcro was on her last breaths.

Joanne says, "I was hysterical, screaming and crazy, I knew I couldn't save the little boy but I tried to get the little girl to the vet and she started crashing on us, and died a few minutes later. Ron says, "The horses had been attacked, they had not gotten into any trouble and hurt themselves"

They were attacked, most likely, by domesticated dogs, possibly strays, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, who were called out to investigate the deadly attacks.

Joanne tells 3TV, "I'm sure they came in through here, you can see all the paw prints that way."

A third horse was also hurt, but is expected to survive. Now the couple wants other animal ranchers to be on guard.

The couple is now most concerned about their other horses, some of whom are champion prize winners. The couple says going forward they are not going to take any more chances. Ron says "We'll put a camera and sound system out here, if we hear something we'll come out here armed, what else can we do?"