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Tampa, Fla.: The nation's leader in police-horse assaults?

January 6, 2010 |  1:56 pm

Don't. Just Don't. Florida is so well-known for bizarre happenings that humorous news-aggregation site Fark.com even has a separate tag -- tags being the categories it uses to organize headlines, like "strange," "silly" and "obvious" -- for the state's news.  So perhaps it shouldn't come as much of a surprise, then, that a troubling new trend seems to be developing in Florida: Police-horse smacking.

Allow us to explain.  In early December, Tampa resident Kevin Love, 31, was arrested after an incident in which he apparently slapped a police horse on the hindquarters.  Word to the wise: Police don't like it when you do that, and neither, for that matter, do their horses.  Love was charged with committing an offense against a police animal, as well as obstructing an officer without violence, with the second charge stemming from the fact that he struggled with officers before being handcuffed.  

That incident was bad enough, but an apparently unrelated but oddly similar event earlier this week leads us to wonder if Tampa police horses ought to start investing in padding.  Marcell Douglas, 20, of Riverview  was charged with committing an offense against a police animal for allegedly slapping a police horse named Chad on the right-rear flank, according to the Tampa Tribune.  Douglas denied slapping the horse and told police he'd merely touched it; he was released on bail.

The two recent episodes in the world of police-horse assault aren't the only ones in recent Tampa memory; back in 2008, 24-year-old Carl Coward of Lakeland was arrested for, you guessed it, punching a police horse in the hindquarters.  Another point you might have guessed: All three incidents occurred between the hours of 3 and 4 a.m. in Ybor City, a Tampa neighborhood apparently known for its nightlife. 

Is it just us, or is Ybor City maybe not the ideal spot to station police horses?  The three stories out of Florida don't mention the breed or breeds of the horses involved -- here's hoping they're Clydesdales.

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-- Lindsay Barnett

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