Striking police horse has real consequences
Published: Thursday, July 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 30, 2004 at 10:58 p.m.
They may not wear bulletproof vests like their two-legged counterparts, but when it comes to the law, police horses have some of the same protections as police officers.
A Santa Fe Community College student found that out the hard way last week when she was arrested after police say she hit a police horse while an officer was riding it during a downtown patrol.
The 23-year-old later told officers she hit Justice, the police horse, because it was "just a horse," reports said.
A city ordinance allowed police to file a misdemeanor charge against the woman for striking the horse. Gainesville Police Sgt. Keith Kameg said about five people have been charged under the ordinance since it went into effect about three years ago.
The ordinance covers a loophole in a state law that makes it a third-degree felony to injure or kill a police dog or horse, a fire dog used in fire investigations or a search and rescue dog. The law did not cover hitting or slapping a horse without causing injury, Kameg said.
So far this year, 26 lawn mowers, ATVs and trailers have been stolen in the unincorporated areas of Alachua County, Sheriff's Sgt. Keith Faulk said.
People tend to buy new mowers and equipment in the spring, but don't always take the time to keep the goods hidden or locked up, he said.
"They don't want to take that extra five or 10 minutes to secure it, and when they go out to use it again, it's gone," Faulk said, adding that some of the equipment being stolen is expensive, such as zero-radius lawn mowers, which cost about $5,000.
Owners should keep their equipment out of sight in a storage building with a deadbolt and good frame, or secure it to a tree or pole with a padlock, he said.
Ronald W. Clark Jr., 36, was involved in another hunger strike earlier this year protesting conditions in the prison's disciplinary wing. Clark was sentenced to death in 1991 on a Duval County murder charge.
The issue of the temperatures inside the state's prison has been an ongoing focus of concern and complaints from inmates and inmate-rights groups. Most of the state's prisons do not have air-conditioning.
Prison officials said they plan to medically monitor any inmates who go on the hunger strike, but whether the hunger strike will result in any changes remains to be seen.
"We've not changed any of our policies because of a hunger strike by inmates or any other strike by inmates," said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Debbie Buchanan. She also noted that the strikes generally do not last long.
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