DENVER (AP/CBS4) — A Denver police officer has been punished for leaving his horse without food or water before it became sick and had to be put down.

A disciplinary report released Monday says Officer Joseph Teeter didn’t mean to harm the horse, named M.C. Hammer, when he left it unattended for 16 hours in September.

M.C. Hammer (credit: Denver Police Department)

M.C. Hammer (credit: Denver Police Department)

Christine Downs, a spokesperson for the Denver Police Department, responded to the report.

“The horses, dogs, all animals are our friends, especially when they are part of the force,” Downs said.

The report says the officer became distracted while doing paperwork and forgot he had tied the horse in a stall in the department barn.

“It is a sad situation. They did an investigation and it was determined that this officer didn’t have anything similar (in his past). He loves the animal. It wasn’t like he was trying to be mean or hurtful to the animal or this horse,” Downs said.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The horse seemed fine when it was fed the next morning but later was diagnosed with colic and euthanized. The report says a veterinarian could not tell if the horse became sick as a result of being left without food or water.

Teeter was docked one vacation day. The report says he was remorseful.

Statement From The Denver Police Department

This morning, DPD made the difficult decision to humanely put down one of its Mounted Patrol horses, named MC Hammer. On Tuesday, September 27, 2016, the horse was transported to a veterinary clinic with symptoms of colic after being left tied in his stall following a duty assignment the previous afternoon. MC Hammer was 10 years-old and had been with the DPD Mounted Patrol Unit since November 2015.

The Denver Police Department is currently conducting an Internal Affairs investigation into this incident to determine if there was any negligence by Department personnel. The investigation will include a necropsy report. Because there is an open investigation, the Department cannot provide additional details of the situation at this time.

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Comments (2)
  1. Renee Liefke says:

    An investigation? Puleeze. The horse is dead and was left unattended, tied up, for 16 hours! This is clearly animal abuse and neglect!!! You DO NOT just “forget”.

  2. Joseph Teeter needs to have the hell beat out of him, tied to a post and forgotten for a week.

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