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Lackawanna County disbands sheriff's mounted unit, horses to continue therapy work

The unit's four horses will still be part of the Office of Youth & Family Services Stable Program

GREENFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Sheriffs deputies in Lackawanna County will no longer protect and serve on horseback.

The Sheriff's Department eliminated its mounted unit but, its horses will still work for the county. 

Finneas, Montana, Monty, and Charlie are retiring from their careers in law enforcement. 

But, the horses are not being put out to pasture. They will have more time to do their other work.

Dawn Davis is one of the horse's caretakers and the director of the county's Stable Program, which is held each summer at Merli Sarnoski Park in Greenfield Township.

The program uses the horses to help children and teens from the Lackawanna County Office of Youth and Family Services. 

"They're a very unique group of horses in that they had to be able to tell the difference between their police work and their children's work, and they do that very well," Davis said.

Back in 2015, Newswatch 16 highlighted the special training the horses and the deputies needed. 

RELATED: Training Horses for Law Enforcement

The sheriff told Newswatch 16 Tuesday that there is a lack of interest within the department to maintain that training, and he had no choice but to disband the unit. 

The county commissioners decided to keep the horses on. Instead of being employees of the Sheriff's Department, they now work for the Office of Youth and Family Services. 

Davis said the horses are sometimes the most valuable tool to help an at-risk child.

"It just teaches them responsibility, promotes the positive relationships between the police officers and the kids, caseworkers, and kids. It teaches them the responsibility of taking care of the horses and having something that they have to depend on and depends on them," she said.

This year's stable program starts on Monday.