Forget about gold watches! Carrots and apples were the retirement gifts for two SFPD Mounted Unit horses, Kenny and Chip, who hung up their saddles (and shoes) on June 16, 2009. The horses were officially turned over to San Francisco SPCA President Jan McHugh-Smith at a signing ceremony at the Mounted Unit's stables in Golden Gate Park. Since 1918, The SF/SPCA has been providing lifetime care for police horses that are retired due to age or illness.
Accepting the horses on behalf of The SF/SPCA, Jan McHugh-Smith noted the long relationship between the Society and the horses of San Francisco. "For much of its 141-year history, The SF/SPCA cared for the horses of San Francisco, and we're continuing that tradition. We are delighted to accept these deserving horses into our remarkable retirement program."
Since the inception of this service 91 years ago, the animals have been rehomed at ranches in rural counties around San Francisco. For the last 25 years the retirement retreat has been a beautiful 40-acre ranch in Sonoma County. The extraordinarily generous owner of the ranch offers its green fields as a haven for these worthy animals. Kenny and Chip will join several others already happily settled at the property. The owner is paid $1 per day per horse (try finding rental property in San Francisco at that rate!), by The SF/SPCA. The cost of the horses' food – 10 tons of hay each year – and veterinary care is also provided by the Society, with funding from its many loyal and generous donors.
As the officially retired horses moseyed away to greener pastures, they were seen off by officers from the SFPD Mounted Unit. The officers expressed their gratitude to The SF/SPCA for providing a "golden years" sanctuary for the horses, where they can just…horse around!