Photo: CoCT

Cape Town - Five of the Cape Town metro police department’s four-legged equestrian unit "officers" are heading off in search of greener pastures, hot on the heels of a group of K9 unit members who recently retired. 

The city’s metro police department on Friday officially retired five "equestrian unit officers", mayoral committee member for safety and security, and social services JP Smith said.

"Officers Silver, Venus, Misty, Jinx, and Vossie bowed out due to age and/or medical reasons after years of dedicated service to the city and its residents," he said.

Photo: CoCT

The horses, aged between 14 and 25, were handed over to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) who would be tasked with finding them new pastures for their retirement. 

Their retirement came soon after eight of their K9 unit colleagues also handed in their badges. Canines Kelly, Roxy, Champ Boy, Mo, Luke, Ace, Raka, and Nandi had been taken into the personal care of their respective handlers. 

"Our service animals unit is a crucial cog in the city’s enforcement strategy and has racked up numerous successes since inception. These wonderful animals have gone about serving Cape Town with dogged determination and they’ve certainly not horsed around on the job," Smith said.

During April 2018, the service animals unit attended to 68 complaints and conducted 41 arrests on a range of charges, including murder, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, possession of drugs, assault, and outstanding warrants. They confiscated five firearms, 36 rounds of ammunition, and an array of drugs and marine resources. The equestrian unit also clocked 152 patrol hours.

Photo: CoCT

"We are handing over the horses to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA with whom we have a very good working relationship. I have every confidence that the SPCA will find good homes for our officers so they can spend their retirement years peacefully and with dignity," Smith said.

The equestrian unit had lined up seven new four-legged recruits to take over from the retirees and it would be up to the one remaining experienced member, Aldo, to help show them the ropes. The unit was also in the process of hiring four more horse-riders, he said.

"We are delighted to see the City of Cape Town metro police showing such a vested interest in these horses’ care post-retirement. The Cape of Good Hope SPCA will work very hard to ensure they find suitable retirement homes where they will be cared for well into their twilight years," SPCA horse care unit manager Lindsay Willis said.

Anyone interested in offering the horses a home can contact Willis on 021-700-4173 or 063-235-1344.

African News Agency/ANA