CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago Police lieutenant said fallen Chicago Police horse Mikey C. was special, and it would take 10 police officers to replace him.
“There’s an expression they use in the horse world, called bomb-proof, and that horse was bomb-proof,” Bauer said at a Tuesday news conference. He said Mikey C could stand in the middle of a demonstration, unperturbed by the raucous atmosphere.
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Mikey C’s human partner, Officer Paul Casasanto, tried to console him as he lay struggling for a few seconds before dying.
The officer’s partner, Officer Jason Ayala, says Casasanto is grieving like everyone else.
“He’s doing better. Obviously, it was a big shock to him,” Ayala said.
Mikey C was an 18-year-old former racehorse. It is believed that he suffered a heart attack
Mikey C is one of 21 Chicago Police horses named after fallen officers, a practice that began 10 years ago. He was named for Officer Michael Ceriale, who was killed in the line of duty in 1998 while conducting drug surveillance.
The Police Department has 27 horses, which take six months to train, while mounted officers require 14 weeks of training, according to Bauer.
Mounted officers were brought back to Chicago in 1974 and are used for patrol, crowd management and as ambassadors to tourists. Because officers are perched high above crowds, they are able to survey a scene easier, which makes them more valuable, Bauer said.
“When they’re up high, it takes away the face-to-face confrontation,” Bauer said. “Even troublemakers realize, ‘Why pick on a horse?’”
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.