A man who tried to ride his malnourished, partially blind horse 800 miles from South Carolina to Florida was nabbed on animal cruelty charges more than 600 miles into his journey.
Christopher Emerson, 36, was arrested while riding down a busy highway in Miami-Dade County Wednesday, about 640 miles from his home in Greenwood, S.C., Miami’s Local 10 News reported.
Emerson said he left South Carolina four months ago following a messy divorce from his wife. He wrecked his truck, but wanted to find a “fresh state” in Florida, so he decided to ride the sickly horse southward.
He had planned to travel all the way to Key West — another 150 miles from where he was arrested in Miami-Dade County. Had Emerson completed the journey, Trigger would have walked about 800 miles.
Trigger was taken to South Florida’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Veterinarians said the hardscrabble horse should not have been ridden at all — let alone for hundreds of miles.
“He is almost completing lacking in subcutaneous body fat. He has very little muscle. You can see the skeletal structure,” SPCA spokeswoman Laurie Waggoner told the TV station. “You can feel all of his ribs. You can see the individual vertebrae, his hip bones and all the bones on the horse.”
The malnourished animal’s back was so sensitive that he flinched whenever veterinarians simply touched it, she said. He is also blind in one eye.
Emerson claimed that he didn’t have the money to feed Trigger or himself, and the pair had been surviving on donations from strangers.
NY Daily News