SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A man who traveled on foot from South Carolina all the way to Miami has been arrested after his horse was found malnourished and in urgent need of medical attention.
According to Miami-Dade Police, Christopher Emerson walked with his horse, Trigger, from South Carolina all the way down the Florida coast to Southwest Miami-Dade over the span of a couple months.
Emerson said he left South Carolina with his horse after getting into an argument with his wife. “I just had a bad rough patch with my wife. Got a divorce, I wrecked my truck, the whole country story thing.”
Emerson has since been taken to the Miami-Dade County jail, Wednesday evening. “Ride a horse in America and you get locked up,” he yelled at the camera from behind the fence.
Throughout the final leg of their journey, witnesses who observed the man and the horse contacted police about seeing the extremely weak and malnourished horse. A Florida police department then sent out a BOLO in search of the man.
On Wednesday, the man and his horse were finally discovered along U.S. 1 and Southwest 142nd Street. The man was immediately arrested for animal cruelty and taken in for questioning. Investigators said the horse was not provided with any food or water throughout the journey and was extremely underweight and malnourished.
However, officials and witnesses believe, he actually used the horse to panhandle his way down the coast. “You can see his shoulder blades here, you can see the top of his spine, the individual vertebrae on his spine, all of his ribs,” explained Laurie Waggoner of the SPCA. “He was using this horse as a way to make money, and this horse is the one who paid for it.”
Trigger is now safe at the SPCA. Officials said the horse has a healthy appetite and is filling up on hay and essential nutrients.
A veterinarian looked at Trigger and said he is definitely underweight. “A horse can easily be ridden from South Carolina to the Keys as long as they’re fed properly and in good condition,” said Dr. Zachary Franklin. “Don’t ride a horse that’s in this condition.”
Officials at SPCA hope Trigger will make a full recovery.
Police said they found Emerson while he was sleeping in a bush and Trigger was tied up along U.S. 1. He said he wanted to make it all the way from South Carolina to Key West to go snorkeling.
Emerson remains behind bars with a $15,000 bond.
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