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APD: Man Burnt Police Horse With Lit Cigarette
Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:08 PM CDT
A man was arrested on East 6th Street over the weekend for allegedly burning a police horse with a lit cigarette.
According to the arrest affidavit, 23-year-old Tyrone Branch Jr. is charged with interference with a police service animal, a state jail felony.
Drago is used to dealing with unruly crowds.
The beautiful black horse is part of the Austin Police Department's mounted patrol.
"The horses are used to the downtown area. They don't usually jump at anything," said Sergeant David Daniels.
That is until cops say Branch decided to burn Drago with a cigarette.
It happened early Sunday morning. Drago and his partner were called to the 300 block of east 6th Street to help break up an angry crowd.
"Sometimes when you're intoxicated you do things you shouldn't do," added Daniels.
This isn't first time a mountain patrol officer and his horse have been attacked.
In 2011 a police horse was hit in the face by a beer can as cops tried to break up a crowd at SXSW.
Kristina Decker is the owner of Texas Trails Rides in Southwest Austin. She rehabs horses and says a cigarette burn can spook a horse.
"These creatures, as large as they are, are very sensitive," said Decker.
Especially one called to clear out a chaotic crowd.
"They feel pain and it takes a long while for the burns to heal," added Decker.
By Alex Boyer
Photo from Austin police