HPD honors memory of patrol horse Charlotte killed in line of duty

By Lea Wilson - Digital News Editor, Sara Donchey - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Saying goodbye to a friend is never easy.

The Houston Police Department honored the memory of a mounted patrol horse who was killed in the line of duty in December.

A memorial service and portrait dedication was held Wednesday morning for Charlotte. The 6-year-old horse was carrying an officer in downtown Houston when something spooked the horse, police said. She spun around, started running and was hit by a cement truck. The horse's back legs were injured and doctors had to put her down.

The officer was thrown from the horse and suffered minor injuries.

"It is a policeman's job to fix problems and to seek justice. But we can't fix the loss of Charlotte (and) that hurts," Lt. Randall Wallace of the Houston Mounted Patrol said.

Charlotte answered the call to serve early on in life. In fact, she had never been ridden before joining the force.

The loyal horse worked protests, helped officers catch bad guys and served as a faithful friend for four years in the HPD.

"I will probably never have a bond like that with another horse again," Wallace said. "To take one who was two years old who knew nothing — she couldn't even really walk down the street in a straight line — and then to have her patrolling the streets."

The portrait will be displayed in the HPD Museum for a period of time, then moved to the Houston Police Officers' Union Building for permanent display.

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