Houston police Officer D. Herrejon comforted his dying patrol horse during her final moments after a traffic accident on Dec. 3.
The patrol horse, Charlotte, had been a part of the Houston Police Department (HPD) for four years. During a morning patrol, she was startled by a traffic noise and threw her rider, Herrejon, from her back as she ran into an incoming cement truck, the Houston Chronicle reports.
“Her back legs were severely injured and she was put to sleep at the scene,” HDP spokeswoman Jodi Silva said, according to the Chronicle.
Herrejon refused to leave Charlotte’s side, lying down next to her as she passed away. He was then taken to the local St. Joseph Hospital as a precaution but was released without injuries.
(Houston Police Officer D. Herrejon comforts patrol horse Charlotte after traffic accident. Photo Credit: Animal Justice League/Facebook)
A total of 32 out of the HDP’s 38 horses are on active patrol duty. Charlotte, a 6-year-old Tennessee Walker, had been born in Oklahoma.
As of Dec. 8, the photograph of Herrejon comforting Charlotte has been shared online by Facebook users over 1,000 times, according to The Washington Times.
The HDP, in a statement posted on Facebook, said:
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the death of Charlotte, an HPD Mounted Patrol horse, who died in the line of duty this morning in a motor vehicle accident. This is an ongoing investigation, but the driver of the vehicle is not believed to be at-fault. Her rider, Officer D. Herrejon, was taken to the hospital as a precaution, but is doing well.
Charlotte came to HPD as an unstarted 2-year old Tennessee Walker from Oklahoma. She thrived in HPD Mounted Patrol’s barefoot and natural horsemanship programs. She passed her evaluation period with flying colors and was working the streets of Downtown Houston within a short time of being started under saddle. She loved her job and was always ready to go to work putting bad guys in jail or giving nuzzles to children. She served the citizens of Houston for 4 years.