Heartbreaking image of Texas officer comforting dying horse goes viral

Dylan Stableford
Senior Writer
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Texas police officer comforts dying horse

A Houston police officer comforts his horse, Charlotte, after the accident. (Photo: Animal Justice League)

A heartbreaking image of a Texas police officer comforting a dying horse after the animal was hit by a truck has gone viral.

According to the Houston Police Department, the 6-year-old horse, Charlotte, was on patrol with Officer Demian Herrejon in downtown Houston on Dec. 3 when she became “spooked,” backed into oncoming traffic and was struck by a passing cement truck. The horse’s rear legs were badly injured, and she was put down at the scene.

Herrejon was taken to the hospital as a precaution but was otherwise uninjured. Jodi Silva, a spokeswoman for the Houston Police Department, told Yahoo News that while the investigation is ongoing, the driver of the truck “is not believed to be at fault” and was not charged.

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the death of Charlotte, an HPD Mounted Patrol horse, who died in the line of duty this morning in a motor vehicle accident,” the department said in a Facebook post that included several photos mourning the loss of Charlotte.

One shows Herrejon and his partner the day before the accident.

But the image of another Houston police officer on the ground hugging Charlotte in her final moments has been shared more than 3,500 times and has received more than 10,000 likes since it was posted to Facebook by the Animal Justice League.

“We admire the heart & strength of this officer,” the Houston-based organization wrote. “When you lose an animal, to be with them during their last breath is a heartbreaking & tough thing to do.”

According to Silva, a bystander took the photo of the intimate moment between Charlotte and the officer, who has not been publcly identified.

The department employs more than 30 horses in the Mounted Patrol division and has a total of 37 on its force. 

According to police, Charlotte came to Houston from Oklahoma as a 2-year-old, thriving in the department’s mounted division.

“She passed her evaluation period with flying colors and was working the streets of downtown Houston within a short time of being started under saddle,” the department said. “She loved her job and was always ready to go to work putting bad guys in jail or giving nuzzles to children. She served the citizens of Houston for four years. She will be missed.”