When his current patrol horse began to show signs of aging, Sargeant, John Hargraves, a 30 year veteran with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department began looking for a new mount.
Through the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care, he learned that several horses had been seized by Animal Control officers recently because they were being starved.
Hargraves went to the equine shelters in Lancaster and Castaic, and found two suitable horses, a thoroughbred mare and a palomino gelding. Both the mare and the gelding responded well to cues and seemed eager to please in spite of having been starved and abandoned.
Horses have been part of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department since the 1850's. "The goal is to prove that you don't need to have an expensive horse to be on the Mounted Enforcement Detail, just one that is sound, calm, and willing to learn and trust you," said Sergeant Hargraves.
The horses are deputized before being deployed in an official capacity. An assault on a deputized horse, like an assault on a human deputy, carries unique additional criminal penalties.