Horses rescued from starvation are training to become sheriff's deputies

A sergeant from the Parks Bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's in rescuing and rehabilitating horses for mounted patrol service.

Sergeant John Hargraves is a 30-year veteran with the Sheriff's Department and has always had a love for horses. He is also the supervisor for the Mounted Enforcement Detail (MED) of the Sheriff's Parks Bureau.

Hargraves' current horse is very old and needs to retire from active service on mounted patrol.

So he began searching the area for some suitable horses. During his search he discovered through the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control Equine Response Team (LACDACC-ERT) that several horses had been seized by Animal Control officers in recent months because they were being starved.

Hargraves went to the equine shelters in Lancaster and Castaic, and found two suitable horses, a thoroughbred Mare and a Palomino Gelding.

The Mare responded correctly to cues to walk, trot, back, and turn on her front and hind legs. She was a former race horse and was found starving to death on a ranch.

The Palomino also responded very well to cues and seemed eager to please. He was an abandoned animal, starved, and had got stuck under a fence.

Hargraves said, "These two horses have been well trained, are trusting, and willing to obey cues. How someone could leave them to slowly starve to death is beyond comprehension."

He determined it would be worth the effort to help bring these two abandoned animals back to health and train them for mounted enforcement work. He will work with a trainer for their basic training, and then assist them through the Mounted Enforcement Detail training and certification.

"The goal is to prove that you don't need to have an expensive horse to be on the Mounted Enforcement Detail, just one that is sound, calm, and willing to learn and trust you," said Sergeant Hargraves.

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Sheriff's Mounted Enforcement Detail horses are deputized before being deployed in an official capacity. An assault on a deputized horse, like an assault on a human deputy, carries unique additional criminal penalties. Both work hard to keep the community safe. Horses are part of the great Tradition of Service Since 1850 of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

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