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Sergeant Recruits Abandoned Horses Into LA County Sheriff's Unit

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Two horses left for dead were taken by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's sergeant earlier this spring — and now the pair has a new purpose in life.

KNX 1070's Diane Thompson reports "Dude" and "Ladybug" are living the high life in Leona Valley, thanks to "KNX Hero" Sgt. John Hargraves.


Just one year ago, both horses were in bad shape: Dude was found starving, injured and trapped under a fence in Downey, while Ladybug was struggling to regain her health after a Lancaster woman left the red mare behind.

"When she was going through a divorce with her husband, she took her ten best horses and took off for Arizona, and left the other eleven there to die," said Hargraves.

But in the near future, Dude and Ladybug will become deputized members of the sheriff department's Mounted Enforcement Detail, where they will be patrolling parks and working crowd control.

"The advantages to having a horse and rider versus a motorcycle or a car is they can get into more places," said Hargraves. "It gives us a good lookout post to see far away, because they are nine feet up in the air."

And yes, Hargraves confirmed that the "laid-back" Dude is named after the lead character in the Jeff Bridges film, "The Big Lebowski".

Besides Dude and Ladybug, Sgt. Hargraves and his wife have taken in five other horses in need, tending not just to their physical need, but their emotional ones as well.

"The other horses actually get jealous when I'm riding these two, so I have to work with the other horses as well just to help keep the peace around here," said Hargraves.

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