Authorities in Miami-Dade County, Florida, are seeking permanent custody of a horse belonging to a man accused of maltreating the animal during a 700-mile ride 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 received reports in November 2016 from passersby about a man riding a horse through Florida. Later that month, a passerby notified Miami-Dade police after spotting the horse and rider traveling southbound on highway US-1.

When police caught up with the pair, the horse appeared malnourished and had sores in his mouth. A subsequent veterinary examination revealed that the 20-year-old gelding was blind in one eye and had a body condition of 3 on the 9-point Henneke Scale. He was placed with the South Florida SPCA for rehabilitative care.

Police subsequently arrested Christopher Michael Emerson and charged him with animal cruelty. Emerson was later released on his own recognizance. His criminal case remains pending.

On Jan. 19, County Attorney Dennis Kerbel said Miami-Dade County had filed a petition seeking permanent custody of the horse.

That case remains pending.

Meanwhile, South Florida SPCA President Kathleen Monahan said the horse called Trigger is “doing much better. He’s put on weight and the sores in his mouth are healed.”