Santa Ana, CA - A veteran police mount tragically died on Wednesday while on duty. Zeus, a 21-year old American Quarter Horse passed away while attending training. The cause of death has not been determined.
Zeus was attending training with the Orange County Regional Mounted Unit in the city of Norco when he died unexpectedly. According to the Orange County Register trainers first noticed something wrong with Zeus during training and worked to save him. Unfortunately, he did not survive. His partner Sergeant Kanan Blake has been crushed by the loss. Aside from extensive training that Zeus had to have, Sgt. Blake was required to purchase Zeus as his personal horse. The two undoubtedly shared a special bond after serving the community for years together.
Zeus joined the mounted ranks of the Santa Ana Police Department in 2007. He was often spotted patrolling the downtown districts and parks, as well as a familiar face at demonstrations, festivals, concerts and crime suppression details, according to My News LA. Zeus even appeared at local schools and community events, building relationship with the community.
The loss of Zeus will mean a big loss for the mounted unit. One of only nine horses on the department, it takes extensive training and certain qualities to become part of the unit. A police mount can serve as a very effective crowd control officer and be a great deterrent for rowdy crowds.
This is the first time that SAPD has suffered a line of duty death that involved a horse. The situation is unique and the details will take time to sort out. A veterinarian is investigating the cause of death. Initial speculations indicate a possible heart attack or stroke.
“They’re also officers, and a valuable asset,” Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said of the Mounted patrols. “It’s quite a loss.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Santa Ana Police Department and Zeus's partner Sgt. Kanan Blake. Thank you for your years of service, Zeus. Godspeed.
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