Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Charlie, Veteran Police Horse, Dies 10 Days Before Retirement

Posted By on Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 3:40 PM

click to enlarge Matt (top), Charlie (bottom) - COURTESY OF THE SAN FRANCISCO MOUNTED UNIT
  • Courtesy of the San Francisco Mounted Unit
  • Matt (top), Charlie (bottom)

Charlie, Union Square's most lovable yet intimidating law enforcer, has died, just 10 days before he was to officially retire from the San Francisco Police Department, where he worked for the last decade.

Despite his untimely death, the police department and community are still throwing a retirement bash for the 20-year-old Clydesdale-American Quarter gelding, who was best known among cops as "the leader of the herd." He died on July 8 from an intenstinal infection.

Charlie's shindig starts tomorrow at 11 a.m. at Lefty O'Doul's in Union Square. He will be posthumously honored along with his partner, Riddler, and Charlie's officer (aka domestic partner), Matthew Castgnola.

"I met Charlie about a dozen times -- he was huge (1,500 pounds) and Matt is a big guy, too so the combo of the two of them together is quite imposing," said Lee Houskeeper, who is doing PR for the horse party.

In reality, both Charlie and Matt were pretty friendly guys, who attracted all sorts of attention among tourists, especially at Christmas, when they would don Santa hats to trot along the square, Houskeeper told us.

This information just made us want to know even more about Charlie, so we called Castgnola. However, he was taking today off, which means we were unable to reach him.

"It's so sad [Charlie] didn't make it to his retirement," Houskeeper said. "We will miss him."

Here was the last video footage taken of the horse before he died. RIP, Charlie.


Follow us on Twitter @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"