Austin police officers arrested two men , one riding a horse, the other one riding a mule and charged them with DWI, after drivers complained they were having to swerve out of their way.
José Ríos and Samuel Olivo Jr. were both taken to the Travis County Jail Friday night, but a judge there refused to sign off charges against Olivo, and he was freed after a few hours.
Prosecutors who received the case Monday, said the officers overeacted, and that the law doesn’t apply in the case.
“It was obviously a danger to the public when you have two animals on a roadway,” said Austin police Cmdr. Jason Dusterhoft, and added that although it is not against any city law to ride animals on streets, drivers were having to steer around the drunken riders.
According to police statements, an officer saw Rios riding the mule near East Sixth Street and San Jacinto Boulevard, in Austin. Rios, allegedly had bloodshot eyes and was swaying, staggering and stumbling, and he’d had “two vodka and cranberry drinks.”
The document also cites state laws for drunken driving, and states that a mule fits the legal standard for a “motor vehicle” aka “a device in, on or by which a person or property is, or may be, transported or drawn on a highway.”
The animals were taken to the Town Lake Animal Center, and then to an animal hospital in Elgin. Anybody who picks them up, will have to pay a $50 impound fee for each animal, plus $28 per day for housing.
Charges against both men have been dropped, as it is not illegal to ride in the city; officials, however are looking into charging the men with public intoxication, an offense that could translate into a $500 fine.