Harris County Sheriff’s Office to adopt rescued miniature pony as mascot

January 5, 2019

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez was not horsing around when he made an unusual request to Commissioners Court last week, seeking permission to adopt a miniature pony and make him the mascot of the department’s mounted patrol.

In likely one of the strangest notes ever penned on sheriff’s department letterhead, Gonzalez and deputies explained that firefighters had rescued the brown-and-white pony from a southwest Houston storm drain in October. No owner came forward to claim the animal, and deputies in the mounted patrol decided they could use the smaller equine as an ambassador. Commissioners Court will consider the request on Tuesday.

The sheriff’s office plans to name the pony Chief in memory of Chief Deputy Ray Vickers, a longtime member of the mounted patrol who died in a wreck while transporting horses in 2005.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Thomas Gilliland said Chief will be a good way to introduce the division to the community, especially with children who may be intimidated by full-size horses. The mounted patrol, which performs ceremonial as well as law enforcement functions such as crowd control, was founded in 1949.

The sheriff’s office said it would seek sponsors to pony up for Chief’s equipment, food and maintenance.

That is, of course, if commissioners don’t say neigh to the idea.

Zach Despart covers Harris County for the Chronicle. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at zach.despart@chron.com .

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