SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Two pit bulls are on the loose Thursday after at least one of the dogs viciously attacked a horse in Granite Hills.
The horse suffered a gaping wound, and the owner had to fire shots to drive the dogs away. She worries it could happen again, unless the owner of the dogs is found.
Five-year-old Payton is a bundle of love, but Wednesday afternoon, a pit bull got into her corral and went for the attack. She had no chance to get away.
Leslie Knoles heard barking, looked across her yard and saw two pit bulls pacing. While she quickly locked up her own dogs, one of the pit bulls got through her fence and cornered Payton. Leslie grabbed her gun, and when yelling didn't stop the attack, she started firing.
Leslie says she loves pit bulls, and has even rescued them, so she didn't want to hurt the dogs. She shares what she was thinking in the moment with CBS News 8.
"Don't ricochet, don't hit anybody else,but try to save the horse was mainly what it was," she said.
It took six shots, but finally the dog -- described as a blue pit bull -- joined his buddy and they ran away. As far as Leslie knows, they're still on the loose in her Granite Hills neighborhood.
"There's neighbors in the area, they have sheep. I'd hate they get a hold of a cat or a kid, but it was in its own world, attack mode," she said.
Payton was rushed to a vet, who took a closer look at the injury.
"Once he cleaned it up, you could see there was quite a bit of damage in there, and I think there were a couple teeth marks he'd seen," Leslie said.
Luckily, they were able to pull her skin back together. She now has several stitches.
But the bills are mounting, and so Leslie -- who lives on a fixed income – has a plea.
"I would just like the owner to come forward. I don't want anything to happen to the dog, but I'd like the owner to come forward and take care of the vet bills," she said.
Leslie noticed that both dogs had collars, so there must be an owner somewhere. Leslie won't have a final bill for a while, but it's expected to be hundreds of dollars.
If Payton has no unexpected setbacks, the vet does think she'll make a full recovery.
The pit bulls were last seen roaming in the area around Dehesa Road and Granite Hills Drive. If you think you know who the dogs belong to, please call the county's Department of Animal Services.