A police horse was punched in Weston-Super-Mare after trouble broke out following England’s defeat by Croatia in the World Cup semi-final last night.
Avon and Somerset police said they were called to a disorder in the seaside town’s Regent St at 9.50pm on Thursday (12 July).
An officer was assaulted and police horse Quantock was punched three times.
Neither the officer not the 10-year-old, 17hh gelding, who has been with the force for four years, was hurt.
A 23-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and of criminal damage, in relation to Quantock.
The incident was one of 13 problems relating to the football match that were reported overnight.
Chief Inspector John Holt said: “This type of behaviour is totally unacceptable and we will ensure all those involved in this disorder will be dealt with robustly.
“In particular, I would condemn in the strongest terms the individual who punched a police horse, which was there to ensure the safety of those enjoying the match.
“While England’s heroes won the pride and respect of the everyone in Russia, these individuals have let themselves down and should be ashamed to call themselves fans.”
Officers broke the news in a post on the Avon and Somerset twitter account.
The initial tweet read: “Our beautiful boys Jubilee & Quantock on their way home from @ASPWSM after dealing with disorder at the end of #England game. Male arrested for assault PC. Also arrested criminal damage for punching Quantock #NeverAcceptable to assault officers or animals! #Quantockisnothurt.”
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A group of volunteers is currently campaigning to have the law changed so that injuring a police horse or dog is classified as an offence in its own right.
The campaign, known as “Finn’s Law”, is named after a police dog that was stabbed multiple times on duty in 2016, requiring four hours of life-saving surgery.
While new sentencing guidelines were introduced in March 2017 that can be taken into effect when a police animal is injured while on duty, the campaign wants harsher penalties available to courts.