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Letters & Editorials

Topics of The Times; Carriage Horses: In Danger Again

April 14, 1992

Three years ago an enlightened New York City Council passed a law that
spared carriage horses from exposure to screeching brakes, loud honks and
potential death on midtown Manhattan streets. It also eased midtown's
legendary traffic congestion.

The need for such protective legislation is evident. In 1985 a carriage
horse had to be destroyed after a speeding limousine caused it to bolt
into an intersection where it was hit by a car. In 1989, another carriage
horse collapsed of heat exhaustion.

But if Councilman Noach Dear can now get enough colleagues to think his
way, carriage horses will soon be thrust into a sea of traffic again.

Local Law 89 protects carriage horses from having to work when it's very
hot, very cold or very humid -- or for more than eight hours at a
stretch. It also confines them to Central Park for most of the day.

But citing the carriage drivers' claim that the law was costing them
money -- even though it allowed them to double their fares -- Councilman
Dear seeks today to expand the hours and areas in which carriage horses
can operate.

As head of the Transportation Committee, he ought to be more interested
in freeing than clogging the streets of midtown Manhattan. The City
Council needs to show more humane common sense -- and cut Mr. Dear off at
the pass.

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