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Pennsylvania state police seek donated horses

July 6, 2013 at 3:33 PM

PITTSBURGH, July 6 (UPI) -- The Pennsylvania state police are looking for help with crowd control and need a few easygoing, fit, 1,800-pound recruits -- horses, that is.

State troopers said several of their mounted patrols are aging and ready for retirement -- and they're turning to the public to donate horses that might be able to fill the stalls.

Suitable horses are 5 to 15 years old, quiet and calm in demeanor, gelded and free of serious stable vices.

Horses donated are subjected to a 90-day trial and training period during which mounted patrols simulate real-world policing scenes such as setting off smoke bombs, hitting the animals with pool noodles and shooting off guns in their proximity, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said.

Horses that don't meet the requirements are returned to their owners.

Horses that are ready for retirement are given a good sendoff, police said.

"When it's time for them to retire, we'll offer them back to their owner," Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Brad Zook said. "If that doesn't work out, we will be sure to find a good home for every horse."

Troopers have used the horses for crowd control during Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl parades, the G-20 summit that drew mass protests and a Ku Klux Klan rally in 1997.

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