Before Teddy Bear Highway’s claim to fame, he was just another horse on death row.
Highway was in the back of a horse trailer heading north on Interstate 75 when the gate to the trailer opened, said Alachua County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Lt. Brett Rhodenizer. The horse got out and injured his knee.
But the mishap was a blessing in disguise. Highway was on his way to be euthanized, Rhodenizer said.
Now, the man who left him on I-75 will be charged with animal abandonment, Rhodenizer said.
A semi-truck driver saw the gate open and flashed his lights to get the driver’s attention, Rhodenizer said. But when the driver noticed the horse was missing, he left without calling law enforcement.
Deputies have not released the name of the driver, Rhodenizer said.
Highway suffered road burn, cuts and an injured knee that required surgery Friday afternoon, said M.J. Hosack, a staff member at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry.
Highway is recovering well at the clinic, she said.
Since ACSO posted Highway’s story online, a handful of his prior owners reached out. He used to go by the names Jet and Spartan back in the day, Rhodenizer said.
“But to us, he will remain Highway,” he said.
Deputies have a laundry list of people who offered to adopt Highway, Rhodenizer said.
Once he’s healed, Highway will find a home.