A Polk City, Florida woman was arrested on DUI charges after being caught riding a horse down the road. Donna Byrne, 53, was in a state of confusion when she was witnessed on the road, according to law enforcement officers who were called to the Combee Road and North Crystal Lake Road area in Lakeland, on Thursday.
The Florida woman was riding down a busy Polk County road when she was arrested, Fox 13 News reports. When the local deputies approached Donna Byrne and her horse, they reportedly smelled alcohol on her breath. She was staggering and had red and watery eyes, according to police reports.
During a breath-alcohol test at the scene, the Polk City woman reportedly blew twice the legal limit. Byrne took the field sobriety test two times, blowing 0.157 and 0.161, respectively. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.08 in Florida.
In addition to being charged with DUI while riding a horse, the Florida woman may also have animal neglect charges levied against her. While state laws vary, it is possible to be charged with a DUI offense while riding a horse, a bicycle, or even a lawnmower.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told the press that Donna Byrne was not in any condition to be on the roadway. Sheriff Judd also said Byrne not only put herself in danger but the horse and other drivers, as well.
After the Polk City woman was arrested, the horse she was riding was taken to the county’s animal control and livestock facility. What will happen to the horse now remains unclear.
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) November 3, 2017
This is not Donna Byrne’s first arrest or only animal-related. She has previously been charged with 10 misdemeanors and five felonies. The list of criminal charges filed against the Polk City woman in the past includes cruelty to animals, criminal traffic violations, drug possession, and probation violation, NBC 6 News reports.
Intense social media debate ensued after the story of the Polk City, Florida woman getting a DUI while riding a horse story went viral. Some posters felt she deserved no punishment, others thought she should be arrested but not on a DUI charge, and many horse lovers felt a far more harsh punishment was warranted.
What do you think about the Florida DUI while riding a horse case?
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