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Rescue horses helping law enforcement in Starr County

(Source: KGBT Photo)

The Starr County Special Crimes Unit has added members to their response team and it's the first time the county will be using horses in law enforcement.

After undergoing six weeks of horse patrol training with Border Patrol, the officers will also be working behind the reins.

"The horses are really delicate,” said Daniel Cruz, Investigator of the Starr County Crimes Unit. “I mean you have to really care for them and put a lot of time and effort into them for them to work the way you want them to work."

Cruz adds the horses has been a need considering the number of calls they receive throughout the year where undocumented immigrants get lost.

The horses will be instrumental in wide area searches on open area terrain and thick brush areas.

"It is the first time in Starr County that we will be using [horses] officially in law enforcement,” said Victor Canales, who is a member of the Special Crimes Unit (SCU) Board.

Before these horses were rescued by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Texas, ‘Westin’ was running wild in south Dallas with a herd that was being shot at by people wanting them off their property.

Frenchie and Coco were trained to ride sometime in their life and were then left in neglectful situations. For instance, Coco was found starving and Frenchie was left with a head injury that almost led to her being put down, but now all three horses will be rescuing people.

"People often think that rescue horses are no good or were put in that situation because they weren't worth saving,” said Daisy Erdmann, Head Equine Trainer of SPCA of Texas. “But they want a purpose and they have one out there, these horses have already proved how tough they are just from their past."

The horses will be part of the unit's special response team that has grown to include firefighters.

"Recently, the SCU board authorized the integration of firefighters into the unit so that they can do cross training for search and rescue operations."

The unit is considering in holding a competition for students of Starr County to give new names for the horses in their new home.

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