November 29, 2016 9:29 am
Updated: December 1, 2016 8:07 am

Calgary police mourn passing of service horse Ranger

WATCH ABOVE: Calgary police are mourning the loss of a beloved member of the force. A 10-year-old service horse died suddenly after a routine procedure. Global’s Kim Smith explains why finding a replacement is difficult.

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Calgary police are mourning the loss of one of its four-legged service members.

Ranger, a 10-year-old gelding, began working with the Calgary Police Service’s (CPS) Mounted Unit five years ago.

On Friday, Ranger was transported to a veterinarian facility for a routine procedure, when police said an unforeseen complication occurred as a result of colic.

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“Unfortunately, the extremely difficult decision was made to euthanize Ranger as the most humane option,” a post on the CPS Facebook page said.

Ranger worked with Const. Reto Aeschlimann for the entire duration of his service.

“Over the many years and thousands of hours working together, a significant bond was built between both Ranger and Const. Aeschlimann,” police said.

“Ranger served his partner, his unit, the CPS, and the citizens of Calgary with honour and distinction until his sudden death.”

Ranger came to Calgary from a ranch near Pincher Creek, Alta.

Police said the equine officer possessed a “kind and gentle soul” and enjoyed opportunities to meet the public.

“Citizens would often stop what they were doing for the opportunity to meet Ranger, who had a calming effect for those who met him.”

“Ranger was invaluable to the CPS and had a tremendous will to please his rider through a phenomenal relationship of trust and respect.”

Police said the death of Ranger is a “significant loss” to the mounted unit and the service as a whole.

Finding a replacement

Five years ago, the CPS bought Ranger for $7,000 but his death means the loss of thousands of hours of valuable training.

“Ranger had been exposed to five years of urban patrol,” Robin Koltusky, the facilities and animal care coordinator with the Calgary Police Mounted Unit, said. “You don’t find patrol horses already pre-trained for the job.”

Finding a replacement will be difficult. Horses with the Mounted Unit need to have a certain temperament, attitude and willingness to do the job.

The animals are not only used for ceremonial purposes but also to investigate crime.

“If there was a break and enter… they (investigators) could contact us and we could increase police presence, look for suspicious people,” Sgt. Kelly Oberg with the CPS Mounted Unit, said.

“But what was he worth today? I guess in our terms he would be priceless because he had such a vast amount of experience,” Oberg said.

 

 

 

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