Florida Woman Gets Visitation With Horse in DUI Case

Donna Byrne, charged with DUI for riding her horse while intoxicated, was granted supervised visits with the animal.

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A Florida woman facing DUI charges for allegedly riding her horse while intoxicated has been allowed supervised visits with the animal while an animal neglect case against her is pending.

Last November, Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a report of a woman who appeared confused and possibly in danger on a busy roadway near Lakeland, Florida. Upon arrival, they found Donna Byrne riding her horse after allegedly consuming a large amount of alcohol.

After field sobriety test determined that Byrne’s breath alcohol levels were 0.157 and 0.161, well over Florida’s legal breath alcohol limit of 0.08, she was arrested and charged with DUI. She was also charged with animal neglect for allegedly failing to provide proper protection for the horse, which she had put at risk by riding him in the road.

While the DUI case remains pending, Byrne asked the court to release horse Bo Duke from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office’s care and place him in her custody. During a Dec. 20, 2017, hearing, Polk County Judge Sharon M. Franklin ruled that the while Byrne has “love and admiration” for Bo Duke, she is temporarily unfit to care for him

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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