Judge: Woman Unfit to Care for Horse After DUI While Riding

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
January 2, 2018US News
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Judge: Woman Unfit to Care for Horse After DUI While Riding
This file photo made available by the Polk County Sheriff's Office shows Donna Byrne, of Lakeland, Florida. (Polk County Sheriff's Office via AP)

BARTOW, Florida — A Florida judge says a sheriff’s office must retain custody of a horse whose owner was charged with drunken driving while riding the animal.

In a report by The Ledger, Polk County Judge Sharon Franklin said 53-year-old Donna Byrne was unfit to care for the horse. Franklin also said Byrne must complete treatment for alcohol addiction.

Byrne was arrested Nov. 2 after riding her horse down a highway, then charged with DUI and animal neglect for endangering and failing to provide proper protection for the horse.

Polk County Sheriff’s officials said in an earlier news release that someone called 911 about a woman who appeared confused and possibly in danger. When deputies arrived they found Donna Byrne riding her horse in the road.

Officers did a sobriety test and said she gave breath samples that registered blood-alcohol level of .161 — twice Florida’s legal limit of .08.

Byrne’s attorney, Craig Whisenhunt, says he will revisit the custody issue at a Jan. 11 hearing regarding additional pending charges of disorderly intoxication, animal endangerment and culpable negligence.

Whisenhunt questions whether the charges applied to Byrne, saying she had not been disorderly and was a pedestrian under the law.

The Associated Press
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