Tod "Doc" Mishler held up traffic and baffled rubberneckers on Monday when he ambled down the Outerbridge Crossing toward Staten Island decked out in cowboy gear and riding one horse while towing another behind him. Mishler's little jaunt across the Arthur Kill was an oddity that certainly made for some good blog content, but as it turns out, he was in violation of Port Authority rules, and got himself two summonses. Now, he's been separated from his horses until a veterinarian deems them to be in good condition, and Mishler spent this afternoon demonstrating and calling for their return, the Staten Island Advance reports.
According to the Staten Island District Attorney's office, Mishler signed a waiver yesterday that would allow the horses to be treated, and they're currently awaiting visitation by a veterinarian at the Ocean Breeze Indoor Horse Riding Arena on Staten Island. An ASPCA spokesperson confirmed that the organization is providing veterinary assistance, but couldn't comment any further.
But Mishler tells a different, significantly more dramatic version of events: he told the Advance that he was resting in his room last night at the West Shore Motel in Charleston, where he's been saying since his bridge-crossing adventure went awry, when "I get a knock on the door and one of the tenants says 'they're taking your horses!' I said, 'what do you mean they're taking my horses? I put my pants on and run out there, I got my boots on, didn't even have my socks on!"
Flanked with a dozen other cowboy hat-wearing supporters, Mishler arrived at the facility housing the horses this afternoon to demand their return. He also did some singing to pass the time, because, why not?
— SIAdvance (@siadvance) June 29, 2016
Mishler frequently rides his horses cross-country to raise awareness about child hunger, and last summer, he was similarly spotted meandering on horseback down an Atlanta freeway. He told CBS on Monday that his dream is to "ride across the country and let the people know that we have the money to feed every starving child in the world."
But some say that it's Mishler's horses who are starving. This latest burst of publicity has led to the creation of a Facebook group called "Stop Doc Mishler," whose members argue that Mishler is neglecting his horses. In 2011, he was arrested in Wisconsin and accused of neglecting and underfeeding the horses, but those charges were later dropped.
According to the DA's office, the return of Mishler's horses will be dependent on how their examination goes. That's expected to happen at 5 p.m. today.