NEW ALBANY • There were no injuries to man or beast after a horse was recaptured earlier this month, ending a pursuit in a traffic-heavy section of the city that lasted nearly a week, county officials said this week.
The ending could have been far worse. The 3-4 year old gelding was loose in and around Highway 15 South and I-22, and in fields in the area, and resisted numerous attempts to lasso it. It was able to elude officers despite being tranquilized several times, Emergency Management Service Director Curt Clayton said this week.
The saga finally ended when the horse was given a final tranquilizer shot, slowing it until it could be lassoed, Clayton said.
The situation began when horse escaped from a youngster who was working with it about Monday, July 5. It’s unclear who its owner is.
Over the next few days, city and county officers blocked traffic in the area, and pursued the animal on horseback into nearby fields, but were unable to catch it. It caused no accidents, but drew a lot of attention from bystanders and passing motorists alike.
Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards called Clayton – who is the county’s animal control officer – about mid-week and asked for help solving what had become a dangerous situation.
Clayton darted the horse with a veterinarian-prepared tranquilizer several times later that day, but the drug failed to slow the animal enough to allow it to be captured, he said.
He darted the horse a fifth time Thursday night, and officials called off the chase to allow the gelding to settle down and let the drug take effect.
Friday morning, officials found the horse in a bean field off Highway 15 South near King’s Creek Apartments and United Funeral Service, and Clayton darted the horse again.
“It slowed him down but he still ran away from us. We waited about 20 minutes and I tranquilized him again, and this time the guys were able to lasso him, load him into a trailer, and transport him back to his barn,” Clayton said.
It was a unique situation to Clayton, both personally and professionally.
“As the county animal control officer, it was the first time I’ve been called to help rescue a horse. I’ve been roping cows and horses since I was little, and I’ve never seen anything like this.
“This was a full grown horse – about 12 1/2 hand high – and scared and full of adrenaline from being chased and being near traffic.”
“We appreciate the help from the police, sheriff’s department and private citizens, who helped bring this situation to a safe conclusion.
“We were trying to protect the general public, not have any injuries, and protect the horse as well.
“We’re happy the situation turned out as well as it did. It’s a thousand wonders someone, or the horse, didn’t get hurt or killed,” he said.