Police Horse Left With No Food, Water for 16 Hours Dies

Officer got distracted with paperwork
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2017 9:27 AM CST
Cop Loses Vacation Day After His Police Horse Dies
Members of the Denver Police Mounted Patrol unit at the University of Denver on Oct. 3, 2012, in Denver.   (AP Photo/Chris Schneider)

MC Hammer had been with the Denver Police Department since November 2015, helping his human partners patrol the city—until one of the 10-year-old police horse's mounted officers had what appears to have been a fatal lapse of memory in September. The Denver Post reports that Officer Joseph Teeter has been docked a vacation day after he tied the horse up in a stall without food or water, then forgot about him for 16 hours. MC Hammer developed colic after the Sept. 26 incident and had to be euthanized. "Though not intentional on his part, Officer Teeter's forgetfulness exposed a live animal to cruel and extreme conditions," a disciplinary letter sent to the officer reads, noting Teeter had violated a department rule regarding careless restraint of the horse.

Teeter had brought MC Hammer back to the Mounted Patrol barn after a day of work in warm downtown Denver. The disciplinary letter notes Teeter tied the horse in a stall, leaving 2 to 3 feet of slack in the rope, but then got "distracted doing paperwork" and forgot about the horse, per KDVR. MC Hammer was discovered early the next day by someone else, and after being given food and water initially seemed to be "bright, alert, and responsive." But he soon started feeling pain, and when vets examined him, they discovered he had colic, from which he wouldn't recover, and put him down. It wasn't conclusive, however, that being without food and water for 16 hours caused the colic. A police rep says Teeter is still on mounted duty and "feels horrible about this situation," per the Post. (The hooves of these horses were sure signs they'd been neglected.)

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