By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star
---- — The horse ridden from Schenevus to Oneonta a week ago was euthanized Friday because of hoof injuries, Oneonta police said.
Donald Lane of Schenevus said the death was like losing a family member. The police department, which has charged Lane with animal abuse and said he didn’t own the horse, is harassing him, Lane said Sunday.
“I adopted the horse two weeks ago,’’ Lane said. “The police are lying.’’
On Nov. 18, Lane was charged with torturing or injuring an animal, a misdemeanor under state Agriculture and Markets law, city police said. The unshod horse had an injury to its right rear leg and to its hooves, police said, and was taken away by a veterinarian for emergency care.
On Sunday, Lane said he would refute the abuse charge.
Told Sunday by a Daily Star reporter that the animal had been euthanized, Lane said he was upset that he hadn’t been able to say good-bye to the thoroughbred named Sochi. The 7-year-old mare had a brown coat, black mane and tail and white markings on her face and a stocking on her right, rear leg, he said.
Schenevus is about 15 miles east of Oneonta along Interstate 88.
Lane said he doesn’t have a driver’s license and rode the horse along state Route 7 on grassy and paved areas to Oneonta to visit friends.
The Nov. 18 ride was the second trip to the city on the mare, he said, and that day he left Schenevus at about 8 a.m. and arrived in Oneonta in the early afternoon.
“I didn’t run the hell out of my horse getting into town,” Lane said. “I don’t understand what the big deal is.”
When police officers investigated a report of a man on a horse Sunday afternoon, Lane was “Okay,’’ Lt. Douglas Brenner said. Later, however, Lane was having trouble getting the horse to move and was seen whipping the horse with a stick, Brenner said.
At about 10:10 p.m. Nov. 18, when the horse and rider were at Main and Eighth streets, police questioned Lane again and arrested him.
Liz Fish and Shadowrock Equine Veterinary Services in Oneonta responded to collect and treat the horse, police said, and the horse’s condition was listed as a “2’’ in an evaluation system where “9’’ is the best.
The horse couldn’t be saved, Brenner said Saturday. Brenner said the horse belonged to someone else, who didn’t give Lane permission to ride the horse.
Lane said refused to identify the previous owners because he didn’t want them to be harassed. Lane said police are harassing him because of charges he faces in a separate incident.
A call to Shadowrock Equine Veterinary Services before 1:30 p.m. Sunday wasn’t returned by 7:30 p.m. A message Saturday on its Facebook page indicated that questions couldn’t be answered because the case is a criminal investigation.
“We here spent day and night trying to save this daughter of a Kentucky Derby-winning sire. Devastatingly, we lost her last night,’’ the message said.
Facebook commentators praised the veterinary staff for its compassionate work and shared sympathies, while a couple of posters expressed outrage regarding the reported abuse by the rider.
Police said Lane, who had been intoxicated and at one point fell off the horse, also was charged Nov. 18 with resisting arrest, having an open container of alcohol and littering.
Lane said he didn’t have an open container of beer, and he hit the saddle with a “switch’’ to create a whooshing noise to make the horse move forward. Not all horses need to be shod, and Lane said he did nothing wrong in riding Sochi to Oneonta.
Lane said he went to Shadowrock Equine Veterinary Services on Monday to see the horse, and he took a brush to groom her. Sochi had laminitis, a hoof injury also called founder, he said, but ``she really didn’t seem that bad.’’
Lane said he called multiple times last week to check on Sochi’s progress. But the veterinarian Friday told him the situation “didn’t look good,’’ and he needed to get a lawyer, he said.
The horse should have been given more time to recuperate, said Lane, who wanted a another veterinarian’s opinion but can’t afford a second opinion or a lawyer.
“They killed my horse without my permission,’’ Lane said. “She was the only horse I had.’’