Thursday, September 21, 2006

This Is A World Where Dogs EAT Horses

Uh oh. Something bad happened a little ways north of my present location:

Charges could be filed by the end of the week over an incident Tuesday in which two dogs belonging to Steelers linebacker Joey Porter -- a pit bull and a mastiff -- got loose from Mr. Porter's Pine home and killed a miniature horse at a nearby farm.

Just how miniature was that horse?
The 6-year-old American miniature horse was 29 1/2 inches tall, probably smaller than the two dogs. Mastiffs can weigh more than 200 pounds and stand nearly 6 feet on their hind legs.
The dogs managed to escape through, over, or under an allegedly six-foot high secure fence on their way to attacking the horse. The pit bull and mastiff have had bad reputations for years, and most people are familiar with what those dogs can do with only the slightest provocation. These mini horses, if you've never seen them before, are absolutely adorable. It's saddening to read about a tragedy like this.

Which is why I almost feel guilty for being reminded of one of Kenneth Branagh's finest moments. If you've never had the pleasure of viewing the BBC documentary Walking With (Prehistoric) Beasts, I strongly encourage you to rent, borrow, or buy the series today. My kids are enthralled by the CGI renditions of prehistoric creatures, most of which are now long extinct, and the situations in which the filmmakers have thrust these extraordinarily lifelike animations. The best episode involves activity around a bubbling swamp somewhere in what is now Germany. We meet giant ants, early monkeys, the earliest know ancestor of Shamu (ambulocetus, or "walking whale"), and of course, miniature horses. The latter come in for some rough treatment in the lush green forest, where they are stalked by scary looking Chickenosaurus things call Gastornis. Several members of a herd of little horsies manage to flee from the carnivorous avian attacker, but one among them is not so lucky.

The Chickenosaurus grasps the small mammal in its giant beak, thrashing and shaking it about before finally smashing it out onto the ground. The feathered fright then commences to chomping and chewing the meat from the bones of its now deceased prey.

Narrator Branagh, in the most dramatically uttered line that ever emanated from his vocal cords, sums up the said truth: "This is a world where birds EAT horses".

Somehow, I can't help imagining that Branagh would describe the Joey Porter dog attack the same way.

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