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Pennsylvania State Police Are Recruiting Horses

Natalie Piserchio for WHYY
Police on horses gather a crowd of protesters towards the sidewalk on Highland Park Boulevard in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Approximately 300 protesters showed up on August 2, 2018, outside of the Make America Great Again rally.

Some horses working in Pennsylvania’s State Police mounted patrol unit could be retiring soon and the humans are recruiting possible replacements.

“There isn’t a set retirement age for Pennsylvania State Police horses, the animals kind of let us know when it’s their time to retire… it’s an individual decision for the horses,” said spokesman Ryan Tarkowski.

Changes in energy, temperament, or other behavior are signs that it may be time for one of the 28 horses to hang up their policing duties.

Like their human counterparts, horses who want to join the force have to go through a training and trial period — 120 days for the four-legged troopers – which is why recruitment starts now, said Tarkowski.

In the past, donations have typically come from horse owners who can no longer afford to maintain the horse or feel it would benefit from the physical activity.