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The Polk County Sheriff’s Office was not horsing around when they arrested a 53-year-old woman on Thursday last week after multiple drivers called 911. The drivers had spotted the woman riding a #Horse erratically down a busy highway, while under the influence of alcohol. She is facing a #DUI charge, along with animal neglect for endangering the horse.

Woman rides a horse down a highway at speed

It happened in Lakeland, #Florida this week, when Polk County Sheriff’s Office received several reports from drivers to say they had seen the woman riding a horse on the highway. Drivers said the woman appeared to be confused and was riding erratically and at speed.

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They believed the woman may be in danger at the time.

Upon arriving at the scene, deputies found the woman riding the horse along the highway. The Orlando Sentinel quotes Brian Bruchey, a spokesman for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, as saying that when deputies approached Donna Byrne, she smelled of alcohol, her eyes were red and watery and she was staggering. After running a breathalyzer test, deputies found Byrne’s blood alcohol level to be .161, which is way over the legal limit in Florida of .08. Byrne was instantly taken into custody on DUI charges.

Grady Judd, the Polk County Sheriff, told the media that Byrne was in no state to be out on the highway, adding that she put not only herself but also the horse in danger by doing so. She was also a danger to any drivers on the road, which is reportedly very busy.

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DUI and animal cruelty charges for the horse rider

Following her arrest, Byrne is facing charges of DUI, along with animal neglect for her treatment of the horse and for failing to provide the animal with adequate protection. According to Yahoo News, the horse goes by the name of Bo Duke and was named after a character in the TV series “The Dukes of Hazzard.” While deputies were testing Byrne, the horse was tied to a patrol car and reportedly ate grass while he waited.

Deputies later took Bo Duke to the sheriff's Animal Control facility, while Byrne was booked at the Polk County Jail. Reportedly while the sheriff’s office is taking the situation very seriously, the horse will eventually be returned to his owner. However, Bruchey did say the sheriff may fight to prevent the horse being returned to Byrne, due to her criminal record.

NBC News reports that it is unclear whether Byrne had retained the services of a lawyer. However, police did say she has a prior criminal record, which lists 10 misdemeanor charges and five felony charges, relating to drug possession, criminal traffic, animal cruelty and a probation violation.