Existing Rules and Regulations for NYC Carriage Horses

Eyewitness News - Channel 7, NYC (New York - WABC, May 11, 2006)
Coalition for NYC Animals' comments are in italics..

Find out the existing rules that govern New York City's carriage horses, and what can you do to help if you see a violation.

The ASPCA's Humane Enforcement Department, along with the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies, enforces rules and regulations for NYC carriage horses, ranging from work hours to temperature restrictions to rules about leaving and returning to the stable.

Rules and Regulations from the ASPCA:

Work Day: Carriage horses shall not work more than nine hours a day. This includes the 15 minute rest period required for every two hours worked. [There is no way to check this]

Temperature Restrictions: Carriage horses are prohibited from working when the temperature is 18 degrees F or below, or when the temperature is 90 degrees F or above, or the wet bulb is 85 degrees F or above. [There is no consideration for the humidity index or wind chill factor.]

Blanketing: Horses are to be blanketed during the winter months while awaiting passengers. [No one to enforce it and mostly does not happen.]

Return to Stable: When the temperature exceeds the limits during the course of a ride, the driver must cease working at the end of the ride, but no later than 1/2 hour after the temperature exceeds the limits.

Lame/Ill Horses: Regardless of permissible working hours and areas of operation, horses are prohibited from working if lame or ill. [If an ASPCA officer is not available to see this, there is no one to enforce this law.]

Adverse Weather: Regardless of permissible working hours and areas of operation, horses are prohibited from working during "adverse weather." This is defined as "any condition which is hazardous to the health and safety of the horse, driver, rider, or public." Adverse weather includes (but is not limited to) "snow, ice, heavy rain, or other slippery conditions." [The ASPCA only sends horses back to their stables when it is 90 degrees and above or 18 degrees and below -- but generally not for snow or heavy rain. There have been many times when it is snowing very heavily, but the temperature is above 18 and the horses are still out.]

Exigent Circumstances: Police officers authorized to order drivers to refrain from operating in any area at any time during exigent circumstances (pedestrian/vehicular traffic, accidents, fire, parade, etc.)

Leaving/Returning to Stable: Horses can leave the stable up to 30 minutes prior to permissible work time and return to the stable up to 30 minutes after permissible working time.

Bridges/Tunnels: Carriage horses are never allowed on bridges or in tunnels.

Carriage horses are prohibited everywhere in the borough of Manhattan Monday thru Friday 7AM- 10AM

Carriage horses are prohibited everywhere in the borough of Manhattan EXCEPT in Central Park, Monday thru Friday 10AM- 9PM

To report violations of the law call 311 or the ASPCA Humane Enforcement Department at 212-876-7700 (4450) [The ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement is not open in the evening or on weekends.]

Frequently Asked Questions About NYC Carriage Horses:

Q: What is the ASPCA doing to help the New York City carriage horses?

A: The ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement department assigns agents to check on these horses regularly. The agents make sure that the horses are receiving proper care, that administrative requirements are being met, and that cruelty laws are not being violated.

Q: How many hours are the horses allowed to work? Do they get a day off?

A: Carriage horses are not allowed to work more than nine hours in any 24-hour period. Current law does not provide the horses a day off from work.

Q: It is illegal for carriage horses to work when it is too hot or too cold? What are the laws regarding weather conditions?

A: Carriage horses may not work when the air temperature reaches 90 degrees in the summer or falls below 18 degrees in the winter. Currently, there are no regulations that factor in humidity or wind chill.

Q: Do the carriage horses have to stay in Central Park all the time?

A: No. The horses must stay in or adjacent to Central Park on weekdays from 10:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.

Q: Is the ASPCA the only entity that enforces the laws and regulations pertaining to the carriage horses?

A: No. The New York City Police Department, the Health Department, the Consumer Affairs Department, and the Parks Department also enforce these laws.

Q: What can I do if I think there is a violation involving New York City's carriage horses?

A: Try to obtain the license plate number of the carriage and report it to the ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Department at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4450.

Q: What can I do to help make life better for the carriage horses?

A: Contact your city and state representatives to voice your opinion. You can also visit our ASPCA Advocacy Center to learn more about how you can help New York City's carriage horses.

(Copyright 2006 WABC-TV)

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