Man riding horse from SC to Florida Keys charged with animal cruelty

MIAMI — A man who was trying to ride his horse from South Carolina to Key West is facing an animal cruelty charge in South Florida, authorities said.%



According to a South Florida newspaper, Chris Emerson, 36, was stopped Wednesday morning by Miami-Dade police. Officials determined that Emerson's horse, Trigger, was dangerously malnourished.

Laurie Waggoner runs the rescue stable where Trigger was taken. She said that a horse his size needs about 25 pounds of hay and quality grains a day. Trigger is in the care of the SPCA.

"You can see his shoulder blades. You can see the top of his spine, the individual vertebrae on his spine, all of his ribs. He was using this horse as a way to make money and the horse is the one who paid for it," said Waggoner. %



Police believe Emerson used the horse to make money and panhandle his way to Miami. Officials said Emerson had two plastic bags stuffed with lawn trimmings for the horse to eat.

According to reports, Emerson said he left Greenwood, South Carolina, about five months ago and decided to ride his horse to Key West after he got divorced and crashed his truck.

Emerson told authorities that he wasn't sure how he would care for the horse when he reached his destination.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

You can watch video before and after Trigger was rescued below: