GENESEO — The Livingston County Mounted Patrol Unit welcomed two new horses to the force in a special ceremony.
Erie County Mounted Patrol Unit donated two of their horses to the area. These horses have been trained to handle all sorts of situations in the city environment. They even handled over 140 Buffalo Bills games over 18 years.
Several other Mounted Patrol Units came out for the event: Wyoming County, Erie County, and Rochester Police Department were represented.
Livingston County Deputy Stephanie Logsdon was looking to replace her old horse that was getting some arthritis. These two new horses came at the right time, and will be well taken care of.
“I am excited to have two new horses. I will retire my old horse to the farm,” she said. “I grew up riding horses, and always wanted to be part of the Mounted Patrol Unit. I am happy doing this job.”
Livingston County Sheriff Thomas Dougherty said he is very grateful to have these new horses on their unit.
“These horses are a great addition to our unit. We have always had a great Mounted Patrol Unit,” he said. “These two new horses will make our unit even better. They have already been trained to work in large crowds and handle parades. This will be a nice and easy transition for the horses.”
Dougherty has been training 10 weeks to learn how to handle the Mounted Patrol Unit. He is very excited to be able to take part in this time honored tradition.
Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard said that he is happy the horses will continue to protect and serve.
“Both of these horses were owned and cared for by Deputy Pukalo. He was most anxious to see his horses continue in law enforcement,” he said. “We were glad when we found out that Livingston County was looking to expand the Mounted Patrol Unit. The horses are handling the transition very well.”
Howard mentioned that the ride home for Pukalo would be emotional since these horses mean so much to him.
“When you are riding these horses in your unit it is very different than riding a regular horse,” he said. “You are not just taking these horses for a pleasure ride. They are trained for all the conditions a police horse will go.”
Erie County Deputy William Pukalo said that he is retiring from the force soon, and he wanted his horses to continue in law enforcement.
“I had Spencer since he was nine-months-old, and Justice since he was four-years-old,” he said. “Justice worked two years with another deputy before I got him. Spencer is 21 years old, and Justice is 16 years old. They are both high quality horses.
“I am retiring soon and I wanted to see my horses do what they were trained to do,” Pukalo continued. “They are outstanding police horses. We own our own horses in Erie County, so we won’t need to replace these horses. They were both mine, and I chose to donate them to Livingston County.”
Pukalo said that there are basic things you need to know how to do with Mounted Patrol. You need to know how to saddle your own horses, feed them, and care for them.
“It takes a lot of training to make a police horse since they need to be accumulated to outside stimuli. They have to get used to loud noises, trucks, fires, trolly cars, trains and more,” he said. “It is a gradual training process. You can’t just take a horse out of pasture, and mount him to go downtown. It takes a lot of work.”
Livingston County Deputy John Morgan said these are not your typical new horses.
“These horses have already had a lot of training. They have been exposed to a lot of different situations between the Buffalo Bills games and downtown Buffalo,” he said. “The biggest thing we need to work with them on is getting used to new riders. Every rider in the unit is a little bit different. It will be a learning curve for the horses and new riders.”
Morgan added that Logsdon will be taking care of both horses.
“The sheriff is going to be joining our unit for a number of events this year, so he will be riding them as well,” he said. “These horses will be available for any of the riders. We have six riders in the unit and now eight horses. We typically like to ride the same horse, but if the horse gets sick we will be able to use the other ones.”
Morgan said that Logsdon will be responsible for all the feeding, vet bills, and general care of the horses from now on.
“The horses are technically considered deputies when they are working,” he said. “In the Calvary they outrank the people that are riding them. Training with these horses can be anywhere from six months to three years. Deputy Logsdon will be riding both horses on her own time. We will work with them this month to get them used to our riders.”