Potential Pa. police horse donors pour in

More than 30 offers made to state force

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The search for potential mounted patrol horses was deemed successful by Pennsylvania State Police this week.

Cpl. Michael Funk of the state police said he got more than 30 calls and emails in response to news coverage last week that state police were looking for large, calm horses in good health. The horses will be used for crowd control, searches and ceremonial events.

"Of the calls we have gotten, we are going out to look at four or five horses this week," Cpl. Funk said.

Horses serve essential role in police force

State police are looking for donations of horses to use in its mounted patrol. Local police also use horses for crowd control, searches and ceremonial events. (Video by Jessica Contrera; 7/2/13)

The horses chosen as potentials fit the state police criteria for the qualities of a mounted patrol equestrian. Draft and draft cross horses were most highly preferred, due to their calm demeanor and trainability.

So far, the horses with a likelihood of joining the force are from Sugar Grove in Warren County, Jonestown in Lebanon County, and Sarver in Butler County. State police have also received calls from horse owners outside Pennsylvania.

Anyone still considering the donation of a suitable horse can call Cpl. Funk at 1-717-533-9111, extension 321, or email mifunk@pa.gov.

Allegheny County Police, who maintain six horses for mounted patrol, are also open to donations of equestrians that fit the criteria. Anyone interested should call Mike Spagnoletti, community relations director, at 412-473-1322.

Horses donated to the state are subject to a 120-day trial period to determine if the horse is fit for police work.

"We will keep training them for their whole career," Cpl. Funk said. "But once I'm comfortable with some of the new ones, it will let some of our older horses retire."


Jessica Contrera: jcontrera@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1458, or on Twitter @mjcontrera.


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