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Demand Justice for Police Horse who Died After Officer Left Him Without Food or Water

This petition had 10,206 supporters

A Police Horse, named MC Hammer, died after being left tied in a stall for 16 hours without food or water, following a full day of patrolling. Denver Police Department Mounted Unit Officer Joseph A. Teeter was docked only one day of vacation for the Horse's death.

Officer Teeter was found to have only violated “Department Property” rule RR-809, Rough or Careless Handling of City and Department Property when he “carelessly left his assigned Mounted Patrol Horse tied up in a stall with no access to food or water for approximately sixteen (16) hours.” The December 20, 2016 Disciplinary Letter issued by the Denver Department of Public Safety found that Officer Joseph A. Teeter also “exposed a live animal to cruel and extreme conditions”. However, no animal cruelty charges were brought against Officer Teeter and he remains a member of the Department’s Mounted Patrol.

On September 26, 2016, when temperatures were in the high 70s, Officer Joseph A. Teeter and his Mounted Patrol Horse, MC Hammer, patrolled downtown Denver. Upon finishing their shift, Officer Teeter tied MC Hammer to an eyebolt in the stall and left to do paperwork. Officer Teeter never returned to give MC Hammer food and water. Sixteen hours later, officers found MC Hammer still tied in the stall. The officers attempted to help MC Hammer by offering him food and water, but he developed "stomach pain".  MC Hammer was taken to the Littleton Equine Medical Center where he was diagnosed with colic and ultimately euthanized.

Mounted Patrol Horses play an important role in our daily law enforcement and deserve to be treated with respect. They are more than mere “department property”. Police officers should treat them as they would a fellow police officer. Police officers owe a duty of care to their equine partners and should be held to a higher rather than a lower standard than the ordinary citizen who would be charged with animal cruelty if they engaged in similar abuse.

It is undeniable that Officer Joseph A. Teeter committed animal abuse when he “exposed a live animal to cruel and extreme conditions”. Therefore, Officer Teeter should have been charged with animal cruelty. Aggravating circumstances such as leaving a Horse tied to an eyebolt in a stall without food or water for 16 hours after a full day of patrolling in hot temperatures warrant a harsher penalty than a docked vacation day.

Officer Joseph A. Teeter needs to be appropriately punished for his negligence - not only to ensure that he will never repeat this conduct but to provide an example for other officers as well as the public. Please sign this Petition and demand that Officer Joseph A. Teeter is held accountable and punished in a meaningful way for the death of his Equine Partner, MC Hammer, and is removed from the Mounted Unit.

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