A South Carolina man has been arrested on animal cruelty charges after it was revealed that he rode his horse more than 700 miles from his home in South Carolina to Key West, Florida. The man was later identified as 36-year-old Christopher Emerson who is accused of riding his horse Trigger for the entire distance. According to 7 News Miami, Emerson was arrested at Miami on Wednesday after he was found riding the horse on a busy busway.
According to police officials, Emerson took more than four months to complete his old school journey which started from his hometown in Greenwood, South Carolina. He told police officials that riding the entire 700-mile stretch from South Carolina to Florida was one of his ways to come out of a rough patch in his life. Emerson had only recently had a divorce and had also wrecked his truck, leaving him only with Trigger, his horse, to complete his trip. However, not many people were impressed with his mode of transport after several people made calls to local SPCA offices complaining about the horse being in a poor state of health.
— ABC News (@ABC) November 24, 2016
When asked about the horse, Emerson admitted that he did not have enough money to feed himself or the horse and that he was completely dependent on strangers for food and money. When SPCA officials examined the horse, it was found in poor health as well. It had a low body weight and had lost a lot of fat. In fact, Trigger registered a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most obese. SPCA spokeswoman Laurie Waggoner later told news reporters,
“The horse isn’t in any condition to travel that far. He is almost completing lacking in subcutaneous body fat. He has very little muscle. You can see the skeletal structure. You can feel all of his ribs. You can see the individual vertebrae, his hip bones and all the bones on the horse. His back is very sensitive. He gets very mad if you touch it because it is very sensitive for him.”
Laurie also added that the SPCA did not have issues with Emerson riding the horse the entire distance. The reason he was arrested was because the animal was kept in poor conditions and was not taken care of during the trip. She also alleged that Emerson actually used the horse to panhandle his way down the coast.
“He was using this horse as a way to make money, and this horse is the one who paid for it.”
Following Emerson’s arrest, Trigger was taken to a farmhouse located in southwest Miami-Dade. Doctors there are still evaluating his condition and would take a call on his future when results come in. For now though, the horse is expected to remain there for the next few months. Meanwhile, Dr. Zachary Franklin, a veterinarian who was assigned to take a look at the horse, confirmed that Trigger was definitely underweight. He also reiterated that they had no issues with anyone traveling on horseback for 700 miles as long as the animal is taken care of. That, however, did not happen with Trigger.
“A horse can easily be ridden from South Carolina to the Keys as long as they’re fed properly and in good condition,” he said “Don’t ride a horse that’s in this condition.”
— WPLG Local 10 News (@WPLGLocal10) November 24, 2016
As for Emerson, he has been taken to the Miami-Dade County jail. He was visibly upset by the decision of the authorities to arrest him and confiscate his horse from him. Emerson was heard yelling to media persons as he was taken into custody,
“Ride a horse in America and you get locked up.”
[Featured Image By Miami-Dade Police Department]