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Police horses back at work after brush with flu

October 25, 2007

Horses attached to the mounted section of the New South Wales police resumed work yesterday, after being given a clean bill of health following the equine flu outbreak.

A quarantine order on the Mounted Police Complex at Redfern, in Sydney's inner-south, has been lifted by the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

All 36 troop horses stabled at the complex have been declared "clean" by DPI officials.

The horses have increased their exercise programme and will return to full operational policing duties from today. Police officers affected by the quarantine order have also returned to full work.

The police horses, housed close to Randwick racecourse, were among the early equine victims of the flu outbreak, falling ill shortly after the infection got into the racing population housed at the course.

The mounted section's Redfern compound and other spelling paddocks are all located inside the equine influenza protection plan's purple zone, and as such the police horses can be transported freely within that zone.

Three troop horses spelling at Upper Colo, on Sydney's north-western outskirts, did not contract the virus and arrangements are now being made available for vaccination.

"The EI outbreak resulted in some disruptions to operational policing with the mounted section not being able to be utilised," said Assistant Commissioner Garry Dobson, Major Events and Incident Group Commander.

"These horses play a pivotal part in many policing operations, from protests and public order incidents to routine patrols. It's wonderful to see the horses back on deck."

Meanwhile, the horses will now travel in style, with the mounted section today taking delivery of a new six-horse transportation truck.

The Hino Ranger 10 Series truck, worth about $160,000, will allow the horses to be transported safely across New South Wales to service both suburban and rural communities.



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