A carriage horse died after stumbling and falling in Central Park on Saturday, prompting new calls from animal activists for laws to protect the horses.
The horse had completed one ride and was waiting for its next one inside the park around 7th Avenue when it fell around 12:30 p.m., a trade group representing owners and horse-carriage drivers told the Post. The horse was taken to stables on 52nd Street and checked out by a veterinarian.
“The Health Department responded to reports yesterday that a carriage horse was unable to stand and required veterinary evaluation,” a spokesperson told us. “We closely monitored the situation throughout the evening. The horse did not respond to treatment, and was humanely euthanized.”
A video of the horse is below:
This carriage horse from Clinton Park Stables is seen stumbling and unable to straighten their back legs in Central Park earlier today.
— julie marie cappiello Ⓥ (@jmcappiello) February 29, 2020
Animal activists with NYCLASS said the horse’s “legs appeared to be severely injured,” and that the drivers reacted “recklessly” when they “shoved” the horse into a trailer. The carriage-driver trade group disputed that characterization, saying they followed the correct protocols and got the animal care quickly. A Health Department source said the vet believed the horse suffered a cardiac event, and did not a broken leg.
“This video is just the latest disturbing piece of evidence we’ve seen showing how poorly these horses are treated and what they go through on these busy city streets,” NYCLASS Executive Director Edita Birnkrant said in a statement. NYCLASS has pushed for new laws, including one that would require carriages to add dash cams, and one that would make carriage drivers treat horses with the same care given to NYPD horses.
The mayor, who pushed unsuccessfully for a ban on carriage horses in the park in his first term, said an investigation is underway.
The video of a horse collapsing and dying in Central Park yesterday is painful and says so much about a persistent problem.
We’ve made real progress in animal welfare but we must go further. The NYPD’s Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad is on the case and WILL get answers.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 1, 2020