Friends to Buy New Steed for Unit
By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Friday, June 17, 2011
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
[Rich Beauchesne file photo]
HAMPTON -- After a long career of bringing smiles to the faces of countless children and maintaining law and order at Hampton Beach, one of two police department horses is heading to greener pastures.
Selectmen voted this week to officially retire Arrow from the Mounted Patrol Unit on the recommendation of Police Chief Jamie Sullivan.
The chief said the department will find a good home for the 20-year-old Tennessee Walker horse where he will spend the remainder of his years.
"He's still a sound and healthy horse but for the demands that are expected (as member of the unit), we decided it was just an appropriate time that the horse be retired," Sullivan said. "It's in the best interest of the horse and it's in the best interest of the unit."
With Arrow's departure, there is only one horse, Butch, in the unit, which was recently reconstituted by voters at the annual Town Meeting in March.
The good news, Sullivan said, is the Friends of the Mounted Patrol Unit has already offered to buy the town a new horse, donating the full $7,000 needed.
The group is the same one that was the driving force in saving the unit last year, after selectmen voted in April of 2010 to eliminate it.
The nonprofit group raised $18,000 to feed and house the two horses at Runnymeade Farm in North Hampton until the Town Meeting vote, where residents overwhelmingly supported restoring funding for the unit.
Officers gearing up for the summer season had recently begun training the horse unit for its return to the beach. It was during that training officers decided it was time for Arrow to retire.
Sullivan said the selection of a new horse is being conducted by former deputy chief Dennis Pelletier, who is in the process of finalizing a deal to bring on a new steed.
Pelletier is the man who started the unit back in 1981 and he has extensive background in horses.
"We expect to have the new horse in the next few weeks and the unit will be up and running this summer," Sullivan said.
Hampton's Mounted Patrol Unit has a 30 plus year history of Hampton Beach.
Police initially formed the unit to deal with crowd control issues that plagued Hampton Beach in 1978 and 1980.
The unit at one time consisted of five horses, but in the last few years, it was downsized to two, as two horses retired and were not replaced due to budget constraints.
[Rich Beauchesne photo]