Police horse Charlie

Lancaster police Officer Greg Berry rides police horse Charlie in Penn Square during Charlie's final patrol on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2019. 

Lancaster city police horse Charlie died Tuesday morning, said the city's Facebook page. 

Charlie, 17, and described as a "gentle giant," served Lancaster city for 10 years and recently retired due to arthritis and declining health. 

The horse's health rapidly worsened, leaving Charlie in "considerable pain and discomfort," the city said. The horse had been receiving treatments for arthritis at the Penn Vet New Bolton Center, the city said. The Mounted Patrol unit, the staff at Long's Park and the New Bolton Center decided to euthanize Charlie after it was learned that his condition would only worsen as time progressed.

Surgery was not an option due to risks, the city said. 

"We reviewed all of the options to help Charlie and sadly this was the only option," the city wrote. 

It was a difficult decision, the city said, "because of what Charlie has meant to the community he served." 

Charlie was provided a hero's escort to the New Bolton Center Tuesday morning for a "final procedure," the city said. 

Before Charlie was a Mounted Patrol horse, he was a pasture mate to other horses at a farm in Kennett Square, the city said. The horse was trained by mounted officers and "quickly became an asset to the unit and police bureau." 

Charlie was partnered with Officer Greg Berry and was involved in policing many events, including Musikfest in Bethlehem, dignitary protection for the Pope's visit to Philadelphia and campaigning presidential candidates, the city said. 

Charlie's retirement was celebrated with a final walk downtown on Dec. 10, and a ceremony at the Mounted Patrol stables in Long's Park Dec. 11. 

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