An Ohio-based animal hospital has posted a shout-out on social media, offering to treat any police horses that may be injured during violent city protests free of charge.
On May 30, the Animal Eye Institute of Cincinnati, Ohio, posted its generous offer on Facebook. “We aren’t in any way going to get political here,” they wrote, “but if any police horses have eye injuries from protests from Columbus down to Lexington, we will treat them for free.”
“Just call the office or send us an email,” they added. “The big gentle giants don’t deserve to be hurt.”
Mounted police officers have attended several violent outbreaks since protests began spreading through U.S. cities in the wake of George Floyd’s death on May 25. On occasions when officers on horseback have become targets of civilian aggression, the horses are just as vulnerable as the officers they carry in their saddles.
To date, the Cincinnati Animal Eye Institute’s Facebook post has amassed 1,400 shares and hundreds of supportive comments. “No animals need to be hurt by all this mess,” wrote one supporter. “God bless, please protect and keep the animals safe! Thank you!”
“Amazing,” wrote another. “Just like our K9 police officers, our equine officers deserve the very best as well! Such a sweet and kind thing to offer.”
The Animal Eye Institute responded to comments, stating that they also honor a policy treating K9 officers free of charge.
On May 30, WCMH shared video footage on Twitter of weekend protesters in Columbus, Ohio, being tear-gassed after throwing objects at mounted police officers. Fears for all involved in the city’s violent protests, including the horses, quickly rose.
According to WJW, the aggression demonstrated at the Columbus protests prompted the Ohio governor to activate the National Guard. Columbus officials issued a state of emergency and chose to implement an indefinite citywide curfew.
In Cincinnati, protesters were seen throwing bottles and rocks at police officers and starting fires in the street. Fox 19 reported that one Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper’s helmet was struck by a bullet, though the trooper was unharmed.
Elsewhere, reports of injured protesters, law enforcement officers, and even horses have made news headlines since protests began, while animal harm caused by the violence has drawn outrage from onlookers.
In California, mounted police officers surrounding the Sacramento State Capitol were pelted with oranges and water bottles by protesters, the New York Times reported.
In London, England, a police officer was knocked from her horse during a Black Lives Matter protest on June 6 after the terrified animal bolted. A protester reportedly threw a bicycle at the animal, prompting it to flee. The officer suffered a collapsed lung, a broken collar bone, and broken ribs, according to the Daily Mail.