Artist’s portrait of Charlotte commemorates HPD Mounted Patrol horse who died in the line of duty

Tom Kennedy

HPOU played host May 18 to a unique presentation ceremony. On behalf of the K9 Hero Portrait Project, artist Loreen Pantaleone presented Police Chief Martha Montalvo with a portrait of “Charlotte,” an HPD Mounted Patrol horse who lost her life in the line of duty.

Pantaleone said it was the largest portrait she has done as part of K9 Hero, this work measuring 30 by 40 inches. Chief Montalvo received the unveiled work on behalf of Mounted Patrol.

Charlotte was five years old when she was formally accepted in March 2013. As Pantaleone and K9 Hero representatives pointed out, “Charlotte underwent a comprehensive training that prepared her for life and service of a mounted patrol horse. She patrolled the streets of Houston where she served bravely and willingly for three years.”

On Dec. 3, 2015, Charlotte was involved in an unfortunate accident and despite the best efforts of her partner, Officer Harrejon, responding officers and veterinarian, she was put to rest as a result of the injuries she suffered during the accident.

Pantaleone, a horse owner and artist for the K9 Hero Portrait Project, heard about Charlotte’s tragedy and immediately adopted Charlotte for a tribute.  The K9 Hero Portrait Project is a 501(c)3 and is dedicated to providing portraits of fallen K9s and other service animals to their law enforcement and military handlers.

HPD’s own tribute to Charlotte, saying that she was six years old at the time of her death. The online tribute said, “Charlotte came to HPD as an unstarted two-year-old Tennessee Walker from Oklahoma. She thrived in HPD Mounted Patrol’s barefoot and natural horsemanship programs.

   “She passed her evaluation period with flying colors and was working the streets of Downtown Houston within a short time of being started under saddle. She loved her job and was always ready to go to work putting bad guys in jail or giving nuzzles to children. She served the citizens of Houston for four years.”

While on duty, Charlotte backed into a truck’s wheel well, breaking her leg. Her partner Officer Herrejon suffered three broken ribs, a possible torn rotator cuff and possible torn ligaments in his left knee. While he was being transported to the hospital, Officer Ronald Curry, who was Herrejon’s human partner that day, covered Charlotte’s head and laid with her – staying by her side until her last breaths when she was euthanized on the scene. The compassionate image has gained national attention: