Three pit bulls mauled a miniature horse before being shot to death in Elk, Wash., last week, the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office announced today.
The melee led sheriff's deputies to a marijuana growing operation on the dog owner's property, according to a news release.
The man, Justin R. Howell, lives next door to the horse owner, who told a sheriff's deputy he'd fired several warning shots before shooting Howell's dogs.
Two died at the scene; a sheriff's deputy took the third to a veterinarian, where it died of the gunshot wound, according to the Sheriff's Office
The horse is being treated for severe injuries.
Howell told deputies he has a medical marijuana permit, but detectives found more than 50 plants and several pounds of dry marijuana, which exceeds the amount allowed for medicinal use.
Deputies also seized a police-issued bullet proof vest. Howell was arrested on a charge of manufacturing a controlled substance and cited for having a dog at large.