A Florida man recently learned that it’s not only unkind to slap an equine on the behind, but it’s also against the law.
According to the St. Petersburg Police Department, a man was arrested and charged with battery after he hit a police horse’s backside around 2 a.m. in downtown St. Petersburg on December 3.
Two officers were patrolling on horseback at the time when they said a man came up from behind and palm-slapped a police horse named Brooklyn.
“The defendant walked up behind my partner who was also riding a police horse. … I observed the defendant then with his open hand slap the rear of my partner’s police horse,” the arrest affidavit said.
At the time of the incident, the horses were wearing police insignia and flashing blue lights.
“The defendant immediately looked at officers and stated that he didn’t know he wasn’t allowed to hit the horses,” according to the affidavit.
The suspect, a 27-year-old Alisha Lalani from Odessa, was taken into custody and charged with battery on a police horse. He was not intoxicated at the time and was unarmed.
According to the Florida State Legislature, anyone who “intentionally maliciously touches, strikes, or causes bodily harm to a police canine, fire canine, SAR canine, or police horse” is guilty of a first-degree battery misdemeanor.
Brooklyn the horse is a 1,400-pound Percheron “thoroughbred cross gelding,” and is roughly 19 years old. There are two other horses in the department’s mounted unit.
“He mainly works in the downtown district (and) is currently one of three horses in the Dept.’s Mounted Patrol Unit. He was a mounted patrol horse with the Boston Police Dept. until he was donated to St. Petersburg Police in 2009,” officials said.
Interestingly, this wasn’t the first incident of someone getting arrested for slapping a horse’s butt in Florida. In 2017, the Associated Press reported that a man from Santa Rosa County “slapped a police horse on the hindquarters while it was on patrol” and was arrested on charges of injuring a police horse, possession of illegal drugs and resisting police.