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ASK A COP: Peculiar, risky but legal for transporting a horse


Port Arthur Police Officer Rickey Antoine

Jeff from Port Neches asks: Officer Antoine, someone sent me a picture a week ago with a pick-up truck transporting a full-grown horse in the bed of the truck. Officer Antoine I am not joking, there was a whole horse standing in the bed of a pick-up truck, not on a trailer and not inside of the trailer. That poor horse was standing there while the truck traveled down the highway. There was the second picture showing that particular truck being stopped by a State Trooper. Officer Antoine, me and everybody else who reads your column knows this cannot be legal, can it? What violation in Texas covers this transportation of a horse in the bed of a pickup?

Answer: Good question, Jeff! It so happens I was forwarded that same picture by a coworker. I’m sure this particular image has caused quite a controversy among those in social media land. But, we all need to understand there was absolutely no violation committed by the driver of that tuck. It is not illegal to transport a horse in the bed of a pick-up. There is absolutely nothing in the penal or Transportation Codes of Texas that states you cannot transport a horse in the bed of a pick-up. I know it doesn’t look good, and I know it looks very dangerous for the animal, but the driver did not commit any crime. The horse didn’t fall off the bed of the truck while being transported, and the horse didn’t seem to be malnourished so there was no animal cruelty to the horse. I believe an officer involved has submitted charges of animal cruelty to that county’s District Attorney Office, and is unclear as of yet, if the charges will be filed on the driver for animal cruelty because the only part of that animal cruelty statue this would fit would be transporting in a cruel manner. Jeff, we never have a problem with a dog, cat or even smaller livestock being transported in the back of a pick-up, but when we have a large animal such as a horse being transported, it just doesn’t look right, and is out of the norm for us here in Texas. Just because it doesn’t look right, doesn’t mean that it’s illegal!


Mary from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, thanks for all your wonderful work to our community. I wanted to ask a question about stopping for school buses, particularly on Jimmy Johnson Boulevard. There is an apartment complex that’s on Jimmy Johnson, and the school bus stops there Monday through Friday during my work week. My question is if the school bus stops, are we supposed to stop as well if we are driving in the opposite direction, or can we continue to drive? Officer Antoine, the last thing I want to do is hit someone’s child because I didn’t stop for the school bus. Thank you for all that you do to keep us safe on the roads!

Answer: Good question, Mary! This seems to be one question that surfaces quite often, and honestly it’s one I don’t have a problem repeating probably once a month, because we cannot become lax to protect our children. School bus transportation is the major means of transporting persons in the United States daily on our roads. School bus transportation is the safety mode of transportation of children to and from school daily. Mary, if you are on the opposite side of a boulevard, which is not normally driven upon such as Jimmy Johnson Boulevard, and the school bus is on the opposite side, with the stop sign out and the red lights flashing, and children are boarding or getting off the bus, you are not required by law to stop. Now Mary, if you travel in the same direction as the school bus, “yes,” you have to stop! This is one question and answer we need to continue to get out to our community. Mary, if you are found guilty for passing a stopped school buts, it come with a very hefty fine of approximately $750 in the Municipal Court of Port Arthur.


Lee from Orange asks: Officer Antoine, I have a question about headlights. What are the times the drivers are expected by the law to have headlamps on? I know it is night time, but is there any specific hours the headlights are to be on in Texas?

Answer: Good question, Lee! This may seem to be a simple question, but is by no stretch simple because most motorists don’t know the period of time as defined by Texas Transportation Code as night time. Lamps on vehicles are there for a reason, and when we do not adhere to put our lights on at the appropriate times, other drivers cannot see your vehicle, which could easily cause injury or death. Under Texas law, a vehicle is required to have a headlight on each side of the front of the vehicle. Headlights are required to be used at nighttime and when light is insufficient, or atmospheric conditions are unfavorable. This is so a person or vehicle on the highway is clearly discernible at a distance of 1,000 feet (Texas Transportation Code Section 547.302(a) & (c)). Nighttime is defined as the period beginning one-half hour after sunset and ending one-half hour before sunrise. (Texas Transportation Code Section 541.401(5)).


Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop Live, on KSAP 96.9 FM, “The Breeze” radio station, every Tuesday from 1-2 p.m. Tune in and listen as Officer Antoine discusses in detail the newly released Ask A Cop article that printed in The News. You can also tune in via internet atwww.ksapthebreeze.org. Feel free to call in and ask your question live to Officer Antoine at 409-982-0247.

Remember to email your questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, or call 409-983-8673 and leave a message or voice mail question, or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 Fourth St., Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!