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Police Dispatch

Don't Look a Hillbilly's Horse in the Snout

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San Xavier Beat

May 3, 4:59 p.m.

A shirtless, sunburned man with a buzz on was caught trying to "rescue" a stranger's horse, which he said he'd made friends with over a fence, according to a Pima County Sheriff's Department report.

Sheriff's deputies responded to a southwest-side rural area, where a homeowner reported a random man loitering outside his corral, "trying to take" his horse. He said the man—wearing shorts and a hat (but no shirt) and holding a beer—was refusing to leave his property despite very firm commands from his two grown sons (one throwing rocks, the other wielding a shotgun).

The homeowner affirmed he'd seen the same person at his corral the previous week, when the guy had actually succeeded in catching the horse (temporarily) with a lasso. Today, the reportee said, he thought the man was trying to make his horse jump the fence and escape.

The first deputy on scene drove up to the corral to see the shirtless subject standing in the road near the fence—indeed holding a beverage can, which he tossed aside as soon as he spotted the patrol vehicle. The deputy smelled alcohol as he approached him, also noting the man's "bloodshot eyes" and "very sunburned" torso and face (his hat was on backwards, offering no protection).

Instead of trying to run from the deputy, the man was boisterously defensive, asking why the deputy was confronting him when he was only "making contact with" the horse, which he declared was "obvious(ly)" neglected.

He said the reportee's family "did not love the horse," which this man had been visiting on the sly for awhile now, forming a "bond" with the animal; in fact, he declared, he was "the only one in the world that (the horse) loves."

"If you blow into a horse's nose," the subject explained to the deputy, "he will blow back and the two of you become friends."

He said the reportee and his family were "hillbillies" who "do not pay attention" to the horse, which he "felt sorry for" because he didn't think it had clean water or enough food. He said yes, he'd like to own the horse himself, but he wasn't trying to steal it (since, he conceded, he wouldn't be able to properly care for it it either).

When a backup deputy arrived, both officers verified that the horse was actually very healthy looking and had adequate food, shelter and clean water.

The subject was now clearly intoxicated and admitted he'd been drinking—at the same time adamantly denying he'd thrown down a can (though one deputy had seen him do it). Deputies found it was indeed a beer can, still partially full and cold to the touch.

The man was dragged away from the horse's corral and arrested for criminal littering and criminal trespassing, arguing with deputies all the way to jail.

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