Nova Scotia

Cape Breton horse back home and 'on parole' after going on the lam

A horse that unlocked its enclosure and went wandering the streets of Sydney early Saturday morning was caught by police and reunited with its owners.

Police in Sydney spotted Broadway Bill out on the town in the wee hours of Saturday morning

Jamie Hogan with Broadway Bill during his racing days. (Kelly Nicholson)

Like many enjoying the easing of pandemic restrictions, Broadway Bill, a 16-year-old retired racehorse in Sydney, decided the weekend was the perfect time for a night out on the town. 

According to Bette Lou Aucoin, whose partner Jamie Hogan owns the horse, Broadway Bill opened the lock on his enclosure late Friday night or early Saturday morning and made his escape under cover of darkness. 

Unfortunately for the escaped equine, he only made it about a kilometre from home. A Cape Breton Regional Police officer spotted him on Upper Prince Street at around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

Sydney police said in a social media post that the officer was able to use a rope to secure the horse. Broadway Bill was boarded with a local horse owner until his owners were found. 

Aucoin said they got a message at 6:30 a.m. Saturday that one of their horses was found. But it wasn't until Hogan went to the barn to feed the horses that they realized which horse it was. 

Broadway Bill with Aucoin's son, Benjamin. (Bette Lou Aucoin)

She said they then hooked up the horse trailer and went to retrieve Broadway Bill. 

"I suspect he probably mowed everybody's lawn on the way up for inspiration because he does love to eat," Aucoin said. 

Describing him as "mischievous and a little too intelligent," Aucoin said he knows how to open latches. They reinforced the latch with a chain and a snap.

"That particular night, he discovered how to undo the snap as well," she said. "He's never headed up the road before, but he's opened his door before."

Aucoin said since his return home they have installed a different type of snap that he doesn't know how to open.

Although she hasn't spoken to police, Aucoin said she understands that the officer who captured him has experience with horses. 

CBC news has attempted to contact the officer involved and will update this story with any response.

Aucoin said Broadway Bill is an important part of the family but she and her partner have informed him that he is "on parole." 

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