After refusing to settle thecase of animal cruelty against him, the man who made headlines for riding his horse over a Staten Island bridge, is fighting in court to get his animals back.
Tod “Doc” Mishler was charged with animal cruelty after he rode over Outerbridge Crossing on horseback in June, causing a traffic jam and becoming a viral sensation. He also received criminal court summonses for trespassing and impeding traffic.
His horses, Hope II and Charity, according to the New York Daily News, were seized by local authorities who wanted to examine the health of the animals. Animal advocates claimed that Mishler abused his horses by not feeding them properly, exhausting them and letting them develop saddle sores.
Mishler stated he was riding cross-country to help hungry children.
He refused a deal from the Staten Island District Attorney’s office, requiring him to give up his horses for two years and plead guilty to disorderly conduct, according toSILive.com.
The 80-year-old cowboy and defense attorney Richard Luthmann are taking his case to court in a bid to get his animals back.
Luthmann claims that his client his “stranded without his horses,” and plans on filing a civil injunction within the next few days, according to the Daily News.
“The horses were his main means of conveyance,” Luthmann said, the Daily News reported. “(Police and prosecutors) have taken away this guy’s fundamental liberty to move around the country. Under the Constitution, that’s a fundamental right that goes back to the Magna Carta.”
Luthmann believes the case will be dismissed, but if not plans to put the district attorney's "values" on trial, SILive, said.
"Does the district attorney value his campaign promise to fund and justify his 'Poochie Unit,' more than he does to keep humans alive?" Luthmann said, referring to the borough’s Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit, according to SILive.
His next date in Criminal Court is Oct. 19., and Luthmann believes the criminal case will be dismissed.
"The fact of the matter is we have a kid dying every day of heroin, every five days on this island," he added.
Luthmann is also hoping that the civil action will help get Mishler his horses back, or at least provide a temporary restraint that would prevent the horses from being moved or put up for adoption.
"They refuse to let me see them, but I think they're probably in good hands," Mishler, who is fighting for visitation rights as well, told SILive.