BUNNELL — A man was intoxicated while riding his horse as he led police on a half-hour chase through a northeast Florida town, authorities said Tuesday.
Charles Larkin Cowart, 29, was arrested Monday in Bunnell, about 60 miles south of Jacksonville.
A police officer was responding to a report of “an intoxicated male riding a horse” when he turned on his emergency lights to stop traffic as Cowart crossed the street, according to the charging affidavit. Cowart said he was on his way to his grandmother’s house in nearby Flagler Beach, but refused officers’ order to dismount and “in an aggressive manner reared the horse back” and took off.
Officers did not immediately chase after him, the report said, citing the public and the horse’s safety. Cowart continued to ride through town, “causing a crowd of people to come out of their homes” and a train to slow down as he crossed railroad tracks. Police kept their emergency lights on, but did not use sirens to avoid frightening the horse.
Cowart ignored several verbal commands to get off the horse, which after more than half an hour became exhausted. Cowart eventually jumped off and ran. He was captured a short time later. The horse returned to Cowart’s family and is fine, police said.
Cowart was booked into the Flagler County jail on charges that included disorderly conduct, resisting arrest without violence and cruelty to animals. He was held Tuesday on $7,000 bond.
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I am surprised to learn that riding a horse until it becomes exhausted and hurts a leg is classed as cruelty under the law. Doesn't that happen quite a lot anyway where it would not be considered illegal (or cruel)? Can they prove the man caused injury deliberately? Presumably it can't have been that bad if the police deemed the horse to be "fine" when returned to the family.
If the cops wanted to file cruelty charges they should have impounded the animal, had it examined by a vet, and held as evidence. Giving it back to the family saying it was fine kinda throws out the cruelty charge.
I think they probably used another humane law which cited using a horse (or other animal) till it is overworked or exhausted.
It was probably a case of he pissed the cops off royally by not just getting off the horse and "coming quietly" so they charged him with everything they could think of. Whether or not they keep those charges or they hold up in court is another matter.
I don't mean to be obtuse, but isn't that scenario even more commonplace in 'normal' practice? What about racehorses for example? They are pretty exhausted at the end of a run.
There are often old Traffic Code laws, or Ag and Market code laws that address overworking a horse or running a horse ON the roads specifically. Can't find one for Florida, but that doesn't mean there isn't one.
CONSOLIDATED LAWS OF NEW YORK
AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS LAW
CHAPTER 69 OF THE CONSOLIDATED LAWS
364. Running horses on highway
A person driving any vehicle upon any plank road, turnpike or public highway, who unjustifiably runs the horses drawing the same, or causes or permits them to run, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars, or by both.
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