A South Carolina man is facing animal cruelty charges for riding an allegedly maltreated horse nearly 700 miles from Greenwood, South Carolina, to Miami-Dade. Florida.
Laurie Waggoner, director of ranch operations for the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), said her organization began receiving reports about a man riding a horse through Florida earlier this month. The organization alerted the Miami-Dade Police Department Agricultural Patrol Unit of the reports.
On Nov. 23, passersby notified Miami-Dade police after spotting the horse and rider traveling southbound on highway US-1. Miami-Dade Detective Robin Pinkard said that when police caught up with the pair, the horse appeared to be malnourished and had sores in his mouth.
After an examination, the animal was determined to be a 20-year-gelding that was blind in one eye and had a body condition score of 3 on the Henneke scale, Waggoner said.
“He was in no condition to make their kind of journey,” she said.
Police subsequently arrested Christopher Michael Emerson and charged with animal cruelty as well as violating the state’s animal health requirements, Pinkard said.
Emerson was unavailable for comment.
Police released the horse into the care of the South Florida SPCA, and he has since undergone a complete veterinary evaluation.
“He is in need of rest and groceries, but the (veterinarian) said there is no reason that he shouldn’t bounce back,” Waggoner said.
Emerson is slated to appear in Miami-Dade County Court for a bond hearing. A separate hearing will determine the horse