Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Memorial service for Toronto Police Service horse �Brigadier�
Broadcast time: 16:40
Monday, February 27, 2006
Public Information
On Monday, March 6, 2006, at 10 a.m., a memorial service will be held for Toronto Police
Service horse �Brigadier�.
The service will take place at the Ricoh Coliseum at the Canadian National Exhibition
grounds. The site is accessible by TTC streetcar (www.ttc.ca) and GO
Free parking will be made available on lots C, D and F along Princes� Boulevard.
Constable Wendy Drummond, Public Information
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Monday, February 27, 2006

Brig Posted by Picasa

Brigadier in full flight with P.C. Ron Gilbert riding. Posted by Picasa

Brig Posted by Picasa

We're doing a special run of Brigadier's trading card for the memorial service, to give out to people who attend. For those who won't be able to attend, I thought you might like to see it. Posted by Picasa

The back of Brig's card 

And a press release from the Mayor of Toronto:

News Release

February 27, 2006

Statement from Mayor David Miller on death of police horse Brigadier

Mayor David Miller today expressed his shock and sadness at an incident
in the city's east end that resulted in the death of police horse
Brigadier and the injury of Constable Kevin Bradfield.

"Brigadier was a much-loved and irreplaceable member of our Mounted
Unit and his loss leaves within the unit a void both emotionally and
operationally that will take time to heal and will be difficult to

"The death of any member of the Toronto Police Service in the line of
duty is tragic and unfortunate. On behalf of all Torontonians, I extend
condolences to all members of the Service and in particular the Mounted
Unit where the loss of a friend and colleague is sure to hit hardest.

"I also wish Const. Bradfield a speedy recovery from his

A memorial for Brigadier will be held early next week with details to


Media contact: Stuart Green, Office of the Mayor, 416-338-7119

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Brigadier with P.C. Kevin Bradfield, who was the officer riding him the night of the tragedy. Kevin is recuperating from his injuries and I'm sure appreciates everyone's sentiments and sympathies. This photo was taken by a friend of Brigadier, who sent it to me to add to Brig's album. Along with a lovely poem. 

Brigadier, you Gentle Giant,
Always pleasing, always pliant.
Never one to fret or worry,
A joy to ride, a treat to curry.
Always calm when close to strife,
TO SERVE AND PROTECT - you gave your life.
Rest well, my friend and always know;
You went out rated "Best in Show!"


into the sun 

I am a horse, who's taken no oath,
I patrol the city for hay and oats.
I work long hours rain or shine,
I am a Police Horse strong and kind.
Patrolling the streets can be mean and scary.
But I'm always brave, alert and wary.
I have not chosen this life of service,
Yet I do it Proudly, without malice.
I love the public and their adoration,
Their pats and praises welcome attention.
My shift has ended, my Duty done,
I'm off to safe pastures, to play and run.
My human partners are pained and distraught,
For they loved me dearly, but worry not!
I felt your care, and Love for Me,
My patrol has ended, and I am Free!!!!!

T.P. ( written by a member of the Toronto Police Mounted Unit.)

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Off the concrete,
Away from the din...
You've earned your whispering Wings
Gentle Soldier.

Rest Easy now Noble Brigadier ...

- Katherine Morgan

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I remember his thundering hooves Posted by Picasa

Brig, testing the water Posted by Picasa

Brig, looking noble and handsome, last week. 

The Horses Prayer

I pray thee, Master, to care for me through long winter days and nights
when I can no longer earn my keep.
Feed me and keep me, and give me a good warm bed, that I may keep well,
and duly repay all your kindness when Trail Riding season returns once more.

Treat me kindly. Do not beat me when I do not understand what you want me to do, but watch me, please, and see if I might not be ill...
my back, shoulders, or feet may be sore.

Remember that I cannot go my own way, but must obey your commands, My Master,
and that I serve you well and faithfully, to the best of my ability.
Please, Master, have mercy on me. Protect me from the hot sun, the fall rain, and winters' ice and snow.

Remember that horses have long been the servants of man throughout the ages.
We have pulled the prairie schooners from sea to shining sea.
Plowed the new fields, that man might grow the food to keep body and soul together.
We helped build the mighty railroads; stayed with the cowboys
through his long night watch under the lonely stars.
We died heroically with man on the battlefield of nations.

I shall do my part, for I have learned to love thee well.
So, My Master, when I am old and can no longer perform on the trail, and thus have served you profitably, please do not turn me out to starve,
or sell me to some cruel man.

But let me die at the beloved hands of My Master, and God will bless thee.

author unknown

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P.C. Ted Gallipeau and Brig. Ted was one of Brig's first riders in the unit. Posted by Picasa

Brigadier and P.C. Ron Gilbert were partners for almost five years. Posted by Picasa

P.C. Angie MacKinnon and Brig, last winter. Posted by Picasa

Brigadier with P.C. Vicki Montgomery on board. 

From the Toronto Star on Sunday.
Brigadier's death a loss
Mounted police horse mortally hurt in hit and run
Constable Kevin Bradfield recuperating at home
Feb. 26, 2006. 09:58 AM

He was called the Gentle Giant, a majestic creature that did his job with aplomb, had a horse's sense of humour and was always willing to please.

Yet in the line of duty, Brigadier, an 8-year-old prize-winning Belgian cross with the Toronto mounted police unit, was violently struck in what police are calling a deliberate hit-and-run in Scarborough on Friday.

In an emotional and heartbreaking scene, the emergency task force unit was called in to shoot the animal after it suffered two broken legs and lay on the road in excruciating pain.

Police say Brigadier took the brunt of the vehicle's impact and in all likelihood saved his rider's life. Constable Kevin Bradfield, who joined the mounted unit last May, was thrown onto the road and suffered broken ribs and neck and leg injuries. He was treated at Scarborough Centenary hospital and is recuperating at home.

Although Sgt. Mike Puterbaugh of the mounted police unit said a horse's status as an enforcement officer is something to be determined, "when we're on the street, the horse wears a breast plate that would bear the Toronto police crest on it. That's the logo of the Toronto police service that serves the citizens of Toronto."

The devastating loss of Brigadier has upset and angered members of the mounted unit and those who knew the animal. Toronto police purchased him in 2001 from a commercial horse breeder in Listowel, Ont.

Brigadier was one of 28 horses and 40 officers that make up the city's mounted unit, originally founded in 1886 to control speeding horses and patrol outlying areas. Brigadier's remains were being sent to the University of Guelph for further investigation and to be cremated. His ashes will be returned to Toronto for a memorial service.

"I think the entire city of Toronto will be touched by the loss of this animal," said police Chief Bill Blair, who attended the scene Friday night.

Blair said the force will be investigating the event "very aggressively."

"It was hard to tell (Bradfield) his horse had to be put down," said Constable Chris Heard. "The horse saved his life and he knows that," Heard said.

Friday's incident happened around 7 p.m. as four mounted officers were patrolling an area on Lawrence Ave. E. at Kingston Rd. as part of a new community policing effort to control drugs and gun crime.

A citizen called their attention to a man at a TD Canada Trust ATM drive-through who was swearing at a driver in line ahead of him.

The officers approached the car and asked him to pull over, but the man drove off, eastbound on Lawrence Ave. As the officers rode to the north side of the street, the driver suddenly made a U-turn and came back, striking one of the officers and his horse before fleeing.

A heavily damaged van with horsehair embedded in the windshield was found abandoned nearby; the suspect was arrested shortly after at his home.

Dirk Sankersingh, 42, is charged with dangerous operation causing bodily harm and failing to remain at the scene of an accident. He made a brief appearance at Old City Hall courthouse yesterday. Dressed in an orange detainee's jumpsuit, the burly, tired-looking man conferred occasionally with his defence lawyer, Al Hart, from the prisoner's box.

At his lawyer's request, the court granted medical treatment for Sankersingh and remanded him in custody until tomorrow. Hart said Sankersingh suffers from a pre-existing bleeding ulcer and also has "an unspecified mental condition."

"This whole thing is a real tragedy," said Staff Inspector William Wardle, head of the mounted unit. "Everybody knows these horses, so it's devastating. Everyone's concerned about the officer as well; he's in a lot of discomfort."

The only other case Wardle could recall of a horse being killed while on duty was four years ago when Lancer was accidentally struck by a vehicle on Strachan Ave. near the CNE grounds and had to be put down. The officer was injured and off work for a month.

In an interview at the Horse Palace yesterday, Heard said he raced to Friday's scene with a horse trailer, escorted by six police cars, hoping to transport Brigadier back for emergency medical treatment.

"I could tell by looking at him he couldn't be saved."

Heard ended up transporting the other three horses — Blue Moon, Elvis and Viscount — back to the Horse Palace.

"I never heard such upset horses," Heard said. "Blue Moon was kicking up a storm so much, I had to stop three times to calm him down."

Heard said Brigadier had a magnetic personality and a true sense of playfulness.

Despite the tragedy, members of the mounted unit were out working yesterday, watching over a demonstration in downtown Toronto. Sitting atop a brown mare equipped with a visor, Sergeant Jim Patterson said Brigadier's sudden and tragic death was "very upsetting."

"We've seen horses injured before in minor ways, when they've been stabbed or hit by pedestrians. But to have a vehicle... kill a horse, that's pretty bad," Patterson said.

With files from Paul Choi

and Matthew Kwong

copyright Toronto Star

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Feb. 25.

The dangerous driving charge does not seem to cover the severity of what happened in this tragic incident. If found guilty, the person whose reckless behaviour killed this beautiful animal should be treated with the same severity as if he had killed a police officer.

Not only did the police service lose a wonderful horse, in whom it had invested years of expensive training and who, in return, gave it years of dedicated service, but the emotional cost to the officers who attended the heartbreaking scene and to the injured mounted police officer who loved him, is incalculable.

Elizabeth Duncan, Toronto Posted by Picasa

Rainbow's Bridge, in case anyone's not familiar with the "jingles" and "rainbow bridge" mentions in a lot of the comments, it comes from this piece, author unknown. I'd never read it before yesterday, and I don't think I'm alone in that, so maybe it might be useful to post it here. Posted by Picasa
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
Author unknown...
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