Police Horses From Honolulu– Follow-Up

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After much heartache and aggravation, the Honolulu police horses are finally headed to their retirement home on the big island of Hawaii. Dedicated and hard working officers have been reassigned to new posts but they miss their equine partners fiercely and have been all but denied the opportunity to bid a fond farewell to the horses. But the good news is that they will be able to visit the horses in their new homes, and the horses will be allowed to live out their lives in a well-earned, safe and restful environment and the “troop” of horses will get to stay together.

My original post on this subject was on June 8th, 2009. About how the city was attempting to dispose of the horses, after 9 years of hard work, with the rest of its unwanted city property to the highest bidder. Below is an update and the conclusion of the saga from today’s issue of the Honolulu Star Bulletin.

It has been an honor and a pleasure to have been associated with these gallant horses and honorable people and I am pleased to have made some life-long friends. It makes my heart sad that all their training and hard work has gone by the wayside and the people of Honolulu have lost a priceless service with the dissolution of the Honolulu Mounted Police.

HPD horses retire to green pastures of Big Isle

By Katherine Nichols

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Feb 18, 2010

The four-legged partners of the Honolulu Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Unit have a new home.

The seven horses that helped police officers protect the city will be transferred to Keawewai Ranch on the Big Island. Ranch owner Chandi Duke Heffner has agreed to house the horses, treat them with tender loving care, and allow representatives from HPD to visit their equine friends — Chief Lee, Cruiser, Scout, Kuhio, Trooper, Justice and Cinbad.

“We’ve been working very hard over the past several months to come up with a creative solution that will provide a suitable and healthy environment for the horses,” Mayor Mufi Hannemann said. “We are especially glad that the horses will be able to remain together and enjoy a well-deserved retirement after serving the department and the community so well for many years.”

After about nine years of service, the Mounted Patrol Unit was dismantled in July 2008 due to the high cost of caring for the animals. A plan to auction off the horses — deemed “property” by HPD — drew fire from animal lovers in Hawaii.

Julie Goodnight, who helped train the horses and police officers in the Mounted Patrol Unit, wrote on her blog that the horses and officers conducted crowd control by keeping protesters in line. They also did community service and ceremonial work, and were recognized and appreciated by the community during their tenure.

“Police horses are incredibly courageous and trusting — willing to walk into a 200-person drunken brawl — strictly on the assurance from the rider that it will be OK,” Goodnight wrote when she discovered the unit would be disbanded. She found the notion of auctioning off the animals to the highest bidder “appalling.”

Now, horse lovers can take comfort that the animals will remain together in relative comfort on Heffner’s ranch.

Heffner is a former Hare Krishna follower who in the 1980s was adopted in her mid-30s by tobacco heiress Doris Duke. The heiress purchased the ranch for Heffner.

The relationship between the two women later disintegrated, and, before her death in 1993, Duke reportedly nullified the adoption and Heffner’s proposed inheritance. Heffner challenged the will, but dropped the suit after reaching a $65 million settlement.

The four-legged partners of the Honolulu Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Unit have a new home.