A long-serving campus police horse was euthanized Tuesday after suffering from a painful disease, officials said.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison police said Vegas, who served with the department's mounted patrol for 12 years, was suffering from suspensory ligament disease, an incurable ailment that affects the horse’s ability to use his hind legs, causing a lot of pain.
Vegas, a 2001 appendix quarter horse gelding, started at UWPD in 2005. UWPD said Vegas was a critical part of safety and security on campus present at Badger football games and other large events. Crowd control was Vegas’ specialty. He took his work very seriously and he loved people and "was one of the most gentle 1,300 pound creatures you’ve ever met," police said in a statement Wednesday announcing Vegas' death.
Vegas had been suffering with the ligament disease for two years, police said.
Police said Vegas' registered name was Counting Coins, but he’s well-known in the community as Vegas.