Horses, donkey mauled to death by dogs at San Jose zoo

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A cloud of sadness continues to hang over the staff of Happy Hollow Park and Zoo in San Jose.

On two separate occasions, a pack of wild dogs attacked and killed four miniature horses and a donkey.

Earlier this month, zoo staff found a miniature horse named William dead in his enclosure.

“This has been a tremendously difficult time on everybody. These animals are literally part of the family,” said zoo director Valerie Riegel.

A look through surveillance video showed three wild dogs roaming the park.

The first attack took place in the contact area, which is a petting zoo area where fences are low enough for visitors to reach over and touch the animals.

Officials believe that a dog jumped over the fence and attacked the small horse.

“We started bringing the goats… the other animals to the interior of the barn at night… we moved our other horses – the three female and donkey into our larger grazing pen,” Riegel said.

But it wasn't long before employees found three more horses and a donkey that were inside had been killed.

In that case, it was discovered that the dogs dug under the grazing pen’s fence to gain access.

Since the attack, zoo officials have determined that the dogs were also digging under fences to get into the park. They have now increased patrols around the perimeter of the park.

Animal care officials used surveillance video to track down two of the dogs and are still looking for a third.

Officials say that if the owners of the dogs are located, they would likely have to appear before a judge who would determine if the dog is vicious and should be euthanized.