WAXHAW — What started as a beautiful Saturday afternoon on April 3 at Cane Creek Park ended in a violent encounter between two animals and a carriage driver.
Carriage driver, Amanda Medlin Underwood, intervened when a pit bull terrier, loose from its owners began attacking and biting Miss Charlotte, a 2,000-pound Belgian draft horse pulling a carriage with a family seated inside. A video obtained by an apparent carriage rider shows the dog repeatedly lunging and biting the horse before the horse retaliates by stomping the dog.
Both Underwood and Miss Charlotte suffered multiple injuries. The dog was also hurt when the horse began defending itself.
Friday, Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey confirmed Underwood had suffered significant injuries from the attack.
He said the injured dog was taken to a veterinarian.
“The dog was taken to a vet and later euthanized at the family’s request,” Cathey said.
The video captured only the end of the brutal attack, according to Bridger Medlin. Medlin (unrelated to Underwood) told the Enquirer-Journal the attack began about three minutes before the camera began recording. The attack continued up a hill before the video was recorded, he said. The attack took place on the main loop in the park where there is a playground, picnic area and the lakeshore.
“This was a vicious and relentless attack by a dog that was not able to be controlled by its owner,” Medlin said.
Cathey said the dog had “no history” of past attacks.
No charges are pending against the dog’s owner at this time, the sheriff added.
Medlin has owned Southern Breezes Carriage Rides in Monroe for 22 years. They have provided carriage rides at Cane Creek as of last year. The park is equestrian friendly, offering trails for riders to bring their horses. They offered a few weekends in the fall for carriage rides. He and Underwood have been working together for six years.
Medlin said he is “broken hearted” that Underwood was injured.
Medlin believes had Underwood not tried to protect Miss Charlotte, the horse may not have survived.
A GoFundMe page was created by Underwood’s sister to help her pay for medical expenses because she is self-employed and will have eight weeks of recovery time at minimum. As of Friday morning, the page reached $8,852 of the $25,000 goal. There have been 251 donors so far.
Medlin said since Saturday afternoon, several people — including children — have approached him offering money to go toward Underwood’s medical bills.
Last Saturday, April 3, was the first day the carriage rides were being offered at the park for the 2021 season. They have temporarily stopped the rides at this time. Medlin said there is a possibility they will be offered again around Mother’s Day.
For those who would like to send a donation through the GoFundMe page, go to: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-amanda-with-her-immediate-medical-care.