Polk woman arrested for DUI on horse wants her horse returned

Donna Byrne and the horse that was confiscated by authorities.

POLK CITY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Polk City woman who was arrested and charged with riding her horse drunk will be back in court today, but not for the DUI charges.

Donna Byrne is trying to get her horse back.

Polk County Animal Control took ‘Bo Duke’ after Byrne was charged. Agricultural officials say this is the third time they have had to take Bo Duke from her, including once when they say found her in a ditch.

“I’m worried about my horse,” Byrne told News Channel 8 in an exclusive interview. “It’s not right for them to take my horse away. It’s the only way I can get around.”

Byrne said she’s been getting dirty looks and negative attention from neighbors and people in her community ever since her latest arrest on November 2nd. Deputies responded to Combee Road after scared drivers called 911 complaining of a woman on a horse swerving around the road and looking confused.

Deputies said they found her slumped over on her horse.

“I wasn’t slumped over, I was scratching my leg,” Byrne recalled.

When deputies measured her blood alcohol level, it registered .157 and .161. That’s double Florida’s legal limit of .08.

“I wasn’t drunk,” Byrne told News Channel 8. “I only had two beers, how could I be drunk?”

Byrne is scheduled to appear in court Friday at 1 p.m.

A final decision on her ownership of Bo Duke will likely be made at a final hearing on December 8.

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