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Texas man arrested after burning police horse with cigar

23-year-old Tyrone Branch Jr. was arrested at the scene and charged with interference with police service animal

By Julie Chang
Austin American-Statesman

AUSTIN — A man was arrested early Sunday after police said he burned a police horse with a cigarette on East Sixth Street after the bars had closed, according to an arrest affidavit.

About 2:45 a.m. Sunday, police responded to the 300 block of East Sixth Street near San Jacinto Boulevard where a woman was arrested, the document said. A crowd became upset and mounted patrol attempted to control it.

An officer said he saw a man, later identified as 23-year-old Tyrone Branch Jr., take a lit cigarette and burn the right side of his police horse, Drago, between the neck and head. The horse moved his head violently, the affidavit said.

"If the horse rears up, the officer can only do so much to control a large animal like that," said police Sgt. David Daniels, a spokesman for the department. "If the horse falls on somebody, that would be a bad situation."

Police said in the affidavit that Drago had a small burn mark that appeared fresh.

"An officer's horse is an extension of the police family," Daniels said.

Branch was arrested at the scene and charged with interference with police service animal, a state jail felony punishable by up to two years. His bail was set at $8,000.

Copyright 2013 Austin American-Statesman, Texas

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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