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Hero Down: Columbus PD Horse Liberty Dies After Battling Medical Condition

Columbus, OH – Columbus Police Department (CPD) Mounted Unit Police Horse Liberty died on May 24 after battling a medical condition, according to her department.

The 16-year-old Belgian police horse spent the last three weeks of her life living with her former partner, retired CPD Sergeant Bob Forsythe, who tried to help her regain her health, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

“She was something special to me,” the retired sergeant said during Liberty’s memorial service on June 10. “She took care of me.”

Liberty had been diagnosed with right dorsal colitis, an inflammation of the large colon and ulcer condition, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

Sgt. Forsythe said he did everything he could to comfort his longtime partner.

“I held her head & she kept looking at me. I didn’t want to let her go,” he said, according to the CPD.

Liberty was humanely euthanized on May 24.

She worked alongside Sgt. Forsythe for four years, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

Liberty worked hundreds of events during her career, to include going on police outreach journeys to Kentucky, Alabama, Cincinnati, and other various locations.

She also helped temper some of the high emotions during last year’s protests, because some of the demonstrators would want to stop to pet her and the other Mounted Unit horses, Sgt. Forsythe said.

“You could kind of see the tensions go down a little bit,” the retired sergeant recalled.

He said the police horses “bring out the good in people,” WBNS reported.

“They could be standing on the side calling you every name in the book, and then when it is all said and done and the show is over, they want to come up and be the horse’s buddy,” Sgt. Forsythe told the news outlet.

Sgt. Forsythe said it was an honor to work with Liberty and the rest of the Mounted Unit, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

“It sounds silly, but they can sense you,” he said of his connection with Liberty. “They know when something is wrong, just like we know when something is wrong with them.”

He said it has been “heart wrenching” losing his former partner, but that he will never forget the relationship they shared.

“It meant everything to me,” Sgt. Forsythe told The Columbus Dispatch. “It was a blessing to have her.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Columbus Police Department and retired Sgt. Forsythe in the loss of Mounted Unit Police Horse Liberty.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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