The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office’s plea to locate the owner of a horse found wandering in Land O’ Lakes on March 6 didn’t fall on deaf ears.
Melanie Snow, spokeswoman for the agency, said the horse’s owner was identified after the story came out in the media and on social media March 12.
The female horse was discovered by deputies near the Cypress Creek Preserve off Ehren Cutoff Road and Pump Station Road. Her story was shared via the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page and on Land O’ Lakes Patch.
Deputy Gennis Folsom of the agricultural unit reported that the horse’s owner had been located March 13.
While that particular horse’s story has a happy ending, Folsom shed some light on what happens when an animal cannot be reunited with its owner.
Folsom said state law requires the sheriff’s office to impound loose livestock and post an impound notice in a local newspaper. If the animal isn’t claimed within three days after the notice runs, a sale notice is issued.
“Then we must offer the livestock for public sale after 5 days, but no more than ten days,” Folsom wrote.
That process can take up to three weeks, depending on the availability of a veterinarian to give the animal a clean bill of health. If an impounded animal is sold, the sheriff’s office recovers its costs and the Pasco County Clerk of the Circuit Court would get any overages, Folsom explained.
In the case of the lost horse from Land O’ Lakes, the sheriff’s office spent $221.42 for the impound, which includes $99 in veterinary fees. That cost will be passed along to the owner before the animal is released from impound, Folsom said.