DOG ATTACK: Girl and horse mauled on Tweed beach
A HOLIDAY turned into a nightmare for a young equestrian and her horse after they were injured in a vicious dog attack on a Tweed Coast beach.
Police confirmed the girl and her father were riding horses in the shallows on Cabarita Beach South when a dog, further down the beach, broke free from its owner and rushed towards them.
Cabarita Beach Pony Club grounds campsite caretaker Issabell Star recalled rushing to the Queensland family's aid when the beachside horse ride took a startling turn for the worst about 11.15am on Thursday, January 2.
A police spokeswoman said the dog, thought to be a Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross Boxer breed, bit the 11-year-old girl's horse on the legs and stomach before jumping up and latching onto the horse's face.
The young tourist was also left with puncture wounds on her upper inner thigh.
When her horse bolted away, the victim was thrown from the saddle.
Pursued by the dog, the horse ran through scrubland before coming out onto Hasting Point's main road where another camper found it.
Ms Star described watching the dog, which she claimed still had it's leash attached, return from the scrubland to try to attack the girl's father's horse before it was restrained.
"The girl is okay but the horse will never be the same," she said.
"It was her competition horse, it had only won something the Monday before.
"It was just horrible. The horse was covered in blood and needed stitches and staples in its nostrils and lips. The girl was taken to a doctor."
No further police action was taken after the Tweed Shire Council's ranger was given the contact details of those involved.
A council spokeswoman confirmed the attack was being investigated.
"The attack resulted in injuries to a young girl and the horse she was riding," the spokeswoman said.
"The horse sustained serious injuries to its face that required emergency surgery with the rider also receiving minor injuries."
Ms Star said she called the police, vet and council ranger after the incident.
"It was only their second day," she explained.
"They spent the night and it was their first ride on the beach.
"Tourists from Queensland inject a lot of income to the local area and it is a pity their holiday was marred by this incident.
"Thankfully it hasn't affected other riders going to the beach."
Ms Star has been the caretaker at the campground for about four years and said while dogs had chased horses before, the horses had always outrun the animals in the past.
"As far as I'm concerned it is a dangerous dog," she said.
The spokeswoman said the investigation will determine what appropriate enforcement action will be taken.
The dog is currently at its owner's home, as "council has inspected the property where the dog is ordinarily kept and is satisfied that it is appropriately secured".
"All dog owners must ensure they have adequate control over their dogs in a public place, including in an off-leash area," the spokeswoman said.
For further information about responsible pet ownership visit our website tweed.nsw.gov.au/dogs.