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Wandering horses returned to owners

The three horses that turned up on Spring Hill Drive Wednesday likely fled a coyote.

By WILL VAN SANT
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 4, 2002


Stanley, Junior and Dink are safe at home.

Now they only have to worry about coyotes.

The three horses were discovered taking a tour of Spring Hill Drive Wednesday, stopping traffic and bringing excitement to a quiet suburban neighborhood.

Spring Hill Fire and Rescue personnel spotted the animals and corraled them into a back yard on Caspian Street, averting a possible equine disaster.

While the spooked horses were cajoled into a trailer and taken to Hernando County Animal Services in Brooksville, the question on everyone's minds was when the owner would be found. Now the mystery is solved.

Ty and Lisa Mullis of Spring Hill own the horses, two of which, Stanley and Junior, are geldings. Dink, who was particularly troublesome Wednesday, is a mare.

"I would just like to thank everybody involved for helping to avert any kind of accident and looking out for the welfare of our animals," Ty Mullis said Thursday.

Mullis said coyotes roam near his home in the El Pico subdivision. They have taken geese and chickens from neighbors, he said, as well as killing and dragging off a calf.

The horses have been harassed by the coyotes before, Mullis said, but had never tried to escape them by breaking free.

"They were running pretty hard in their paddock and the tracks were mixed in with a large dog or coyote," he said. "They crashed through a gate, took it right off the hinges."

Mullis had to pay $105 to Hernando County Animal Services for impounding and overnight boarding of the horses, an amount Mullis called a "deal."

He and his wife could have faced fines of several hundred dollars from the Sheriff's Office for having unrestrained animals and creating a nuisance, but investigators decided to only issue a warning.

"We are not charging him," said spokesman Lt. Joe Paez. "It's a matter of discretion on the part of the officers involved."

Paez said that, ordinarily, only those who repeatedly allow their animals to get loose are cited and made to pay penalties.

-- Will Van Sant covers Hernando County government and can be reached at 754-6127. Send e-mail to vansant@sptimes.com.

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