Baltimore police may lose horse unit

Aug. 4, 2009 at 12:03 PM
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BALTIMORE, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Baltimore police need to raise $200,000 to save their horseback unit, one of the oldest mounted police divisions in the nation, authorities said.

The city cut the unit's funding from $195,300 in fiscal 2009 to $46,900 for fiscal 2010, leaving it to a private foundation to raise the $200,000 needed to keep the 6-horse unit operating after September, The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday.

If the money can't be raised, the officers who ride Blacky, Butch, Barney, Buster, Binx and Bell will pay the horses' boarding fees until suitable homes are found, The Sun reported.

Police horses have been a presence on Baltimore's streets since 1888, when a Confederate soldier who served under Stonewall Jackson formed the unit to enforce the city's 6 mph speed limit for horse-drawn carriages, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

"It's not just a luxury, it's a true public safety tool," Guglielmi said. "You can do a lot more on a horse than you can do on foot."

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