"Horses rescued from starvation are training to become sheriff's deputies," according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
The newest deputies in the Los Angeles Sheriff's Mounted Enforcement Detail were found starving and abandoned, said their supervisor.
Sergeant John Hargraves' current horse needs to retire from active service on mounted patrol, so he began looking at several starved horses seized by Animal Control Officers in recent months.
A thoroughbred mare had been found starving to death on a ranch. She was a former racehorse. She responded correctly to cues to walk, trot, back and turn on her front and hind legs, Hargraves said.
A Palomino gelding also responded to cues and seemed eager to please. He had been abandoned and starved and had been stuck under a fence.
Hargraves said he will work with a trainer for their basics then assist them through the Mounted Enforcement Detail training and Certification.
"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 Hargraves.
Sheriff's Mounted Enforcement Detail horses are deputized before they are deployed in an official capacity. That means an assault on a deputized horse, like an assault on a human deputy, caries additional criminal penalties.