The mystery surrounding the lovable horse that was found injured on Interstate 75 near Micanopy last Friday has been solved.
Members of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office rescued the horse from the busy freeway and said it appeared he had either fallen from a trailer and/or been hit by a car. Nicknamed “Teddy Bear Highway,” the gentle horse was transported to the Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry and underwent knee surgery at the Equine Medical Center of Ocala, where he also was treated for road rash, bruises, etc.
After an extensive investigation by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Rural Services Unit, it was discovered that Highway did, indeed, fall from a moving trailer in the dark of night. An alert truck driver spotted the open gate on the horse trailer that was being transported on I-75 and got the driver’s attention. But by the time he stopped, “Highway” was gone, having already fallen onto the roadway.
Alachua County deputies were alerted after sunrise to be on the lookout for the missing horse – long after the trailer driver had left the scene.
“Florida law specifies that no person shall “…abandon(s) any animal in a street, road, or public place without providing for the care … of such animal,” the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook, adding that abandonment charges will be filed with the local State Attorney’s Office.
Sheriff’s officials also located several of Highway’s previous owners, who shared his story with them. For starters, he answers to “Jet” and “Spartan.” And like the thousands upon thousands of Facebook and social media followers who took an interest in Highway, they wanted to know about his well-being.
Sheriff’s officials had earlier reported that Highway had been well cared for prior to his injuries, so they were quite shocked to learn that he had been given to the trailer driver and was going to be euthanized.
“But Highway had different plans, and so do we,” the sheriff’s office’s post on Facebook says.
Luckily, the person who had most-recent custody of Highway has surrendered him to the sheriff’s office. So that brings up the big question – what happens next?
Sheriff’s officials said the first thing is for Highway to have time to heal from his injuries. He was seriously hurt and still is recovering from the knee surgery he underwent shortly after his fall to the roadway.
“There are processes and legal steps we have to follow to determine where he will go after he is fully healed,” the sheriff’s office said on Facebook. “He will be well taken care of and hopefully make guest appearances on our Facebook page from time to time just to say ‘hey.’ Or ‘hay.’”
Many who have seen the sheriff’s office’s original post on Facebook had quickly inquired about adopting Highway. In the event that does happen, the sheriff’s office is encouraging those interested to continue to monitor their Facebook page for more information. You can reach that page by clicking HERE.
Highway currently is being cared for by sheriff’s office personnel and the staff at the Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic. The clinic had originally set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for Highway’s medical expenses, which raised $8,879 from 154 people in just two days.
On Wednesday, a message on the GoFundMe page offers thanks to those who donated and says that enough money was raised to get Highway through his initial medical expenses. They have stopped taking donations for now and encouraged those interested in Highway’s progress to follow their Facebook page, which can be reached by clicking HERE.