“Snoopy” The Deaf Horse Serves Police Just Fine


Snoopy proves that deaf horses can do anything!

When police officer Loope walks into the barn, all of the horses stir-except for Snoopy. Snoopy is one of the newest horses in the Roanoke City Police Department in Roanoke, Virginia. He is an American Paint, with brown pointed ears and a brown “cap” on his white head.

Snoopy is four years old. He is registered as “Mister Apache Paint” and performs in horse shows as “Ghost Dancer.” But most people just call him “Snoopy” because of his Beagle markings. He was donated to the police department because he is deaf-or perhaps hard of hearing.

“We noticed that he seemed to startle from his left side,” said Office John Loope, who is Snoopy’s main rider. “We called the family, and the family said that he may have a little hearing in his left ear.”

 Loope believes the hearing is very faint because, when he enters the barn, the other horses know he’s there. Snoopy doesn’t know people have arrived until he can see or smell them. “He keeps hanging his head out of the door,” said Loope.

Snoopy has a “deaf voice,” too, he said. While other horses whinny and neigh, Snoopy “kind of woofs,” said Loope. “It almost sounds like hard breathing,” he said. “But you can tell he wants to communicate.”

So far, Snoopy’s communication has been masterful. He has been written about in the Roanoke newspaper and in horse magazines. Everyone knows him. When Loope goes to town, everyone wants to know where Snoopy is.

At first, Loope was a little worried about Snoopy joining the police department. Loope wasn’t worried about Snoopy’s deafness, but his age. Snoopy is still young. “We’ve never had a horse be able to stay in the department who was under five years old,” said Loope.

But so far, Snoopy’s “doing just fine,” he said. He has made his way through several steps of training and made several excursions into the city with a police officer on his back.Loope is optimistic about Snoopy’s success.

“The Indians called this kind of horse a spirit horse,” said Loope. “They believed that American Paints would keep them safe in battle.”

He thinks that Snoopy’s deafness may be a plus. City noises sometimes make hearing horses jumpy and nervous. He is not sure what will happen when a horse experiences the city through vision.

“We have high hopes,” Loope told newspaper reporters.

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a good story!

    You do such a good job with this site. It is attractive, easy to read and always interesting.

  2. Thanks for your comments. Seems every horse has a story!

    I love wandering over to Turkey Creek Lane for a wonderful trip to the country. Why, you even … cook!

  3. I would love to have that deaf horse cos I, profoundly deaf, am sure it will be good bold me and deaf horse.

  4. Hi Tara,
    I think you and that horse would be special pals.
    Had a wonderful time looking at your website with your beautiful horses.

  5. Hi
    I came across your article about Snoopy. I was researching deaf horses because I too believe my medicine hat paint is deaf. Could you, or do you have information about his breeding? Im curious because I am wondering if some of the same Sires and Dams are producing this defect. My horse, Patch, only came to me this year. I purchased him sight unseen from a retired man who is now riding gaited horses. He always thought Patch seemed to be in his own world but never even thought that deafness was an issue. Patch gets along just fine and we take lots of rides in the hills here in PA. Anyhow if you could please give any info about his lineage, I would certainly give you mine back for a comparrison. Thanks so much!

    Hi Lisa:
    I’ve been unable to find info on the lineage of “Snoopy”.
    Perhaps you might get some info if you contact the Roanoke City Police Department in Roanoke, Virginia –(Main Phone Number (540) 853-2212) –and ask for the person responsible for “Mister Apache Paint” aka “Snoopy”.

    Also, since he is shown as “Ghost Dancer”, the person showing him might have further info.

    I also notice there is a new website in the making regarding deaf horses. On their site is an email contact. http://www.deafhorse.com/sitemap.html

    Good luck,

  6. I too have a deaf horse. She is a mini, and is only 2 months old.We purchased her mother already bred, although that was unknown at the time. Her mother is a red and white paint, her sire is an all white with blue eyes. Herin lies the problem. My foal is almpst completely white with a little red on her flanks and chest. Her eyes are blue, and her skin is pink. Apparently, the lack of pigmented sensory hairs inside the ear is what causes the deafness. So it is color not necessarily other genetics. If you breed too much white, you run the risk of deafness. You can research the studies, it’s quite interesting.

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