GPD Horses Retiring after a Lifetime of Service
Retirement comes after a hard life's work, and that includes police horses. After a decade on the force, two of GPD's police horses are finishing up their careers.
Merlin, a 19 year old Irish Draft Percheron cross, and Zeus, an 18 year old Russian Warmblood, both joined the force in 2009.
Their partners say it's time for retirement. Cpl. Tracy Fundenburg, who rides Zeus, says, "We don't have a specific date, you serve ten years are you retire. They may not want to come in for the pasture as readily, they may not want to load on the trailer as readily, or engage a crowd."
Zeus will be going home with the woman who donated him to GPD, and Merlin will be going to live with one of his former riders on GPD's Mounted Unit.
Ofc. Ryan Foster, who now rides Merlin, says the retirement is well deserved. "He's served his time, and he's done it very well."
Fundenburg says these horses have been invaluable resources for the department. She explains, "We use them in search and rescues for lost or missing children, dementia patients, or Alzheimer's patients. We used them during the Auguilar search in 2012, and for the Hannah Brim investigation as well."
Not only will their riders miss them, but Foster says the community will miss them as well. Foster says, "They bring a smile from everybody. Everyone loves seeing these horses. It doesn't matter if you're someone who's committed several crimes in the neighborhood, or you're a young child. Everyone still approaches us."
The team of GPD horses will now be dropping from four to two, and the department says they don't have plans to replace Zeus and Merlin at this time.