Justice for Police Horse who died after Officer left him tied in a stall without food or water

Target: Executive Director of the Denver Department of Safety, Stephanie O’Malley; Deputy Director of the Denver Department of Safety, Jess Vigil ; Denver Police Chief Robert C. White,

Justice for Police Horse who died after Officer left him 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 as punishment.
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 provides 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, other 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 uncontroverted 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 the Petition below 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.

PETITION LETTER:
Dear Executive Director Stephanie O’Malley, Deputy Director Jess Vigil and Police Chief Robert C. White,
Officer Joseph A. Teeter’s actions cost his Mounted Patrol horse MC Hammer’s life when he left him tied up in his stall for 16 hours without food or water following a day of service. Officer Teeter’s only punishment was a docked vacation day. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed and must not be swept under the rug. Officer Teeter’s neglect should not be minimized by referring to MC Hammer as dispensable “department property”. MC Hammer was an Equine Officer who served the Denver Community. You do MC Hammer a disservice by regarding him as property.
As you know, Mounted Patrol horses serve an important role in our daily law enforcement and deserve to be treated with respect. Harsh penalties are justified when Police Officers fail to exercise proper care which results in their Equine Partner’s death. Lenient punishment contributes to a climate of carelessness and cavalier attitudes toward Mounted Patrol horses, which must not be condoned.
Please revisit this matter and bring Justice to Mounted Patrol horse MC Hammer. Do not allow Officer Joseph A. Teeter to walk away from this with a slap on the wrist. The evidence demands that you charge Officer Teeter with neglect and animal cruelty and that you remove him immediately from the Mounted Unit.

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  • Debra Taylor
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