An Offer for Stable’s Horses, but Not the Stable     
NY Times - 5/21/10     

Public comments on blog    

      1. May 21, 2010 2:17 pm Link  
      The McKeevers have publicly stated that if they don’t get another sweetheart deal from the city, they will have to send the horses to work for the Amish.  
      It seems a bit disingenuous then to criticize a genuine offer to find better homes for the animals.    
      If your business can’t survive without a $55,000/month rent subsidy from the city, maybe it’s time to consider other options.
      — Lola
      2. May 21, 2010 2:36 pm Link    
      This private, cash-only business has been receiving $55,000 in rent subsidies from the city EVERY MONTH while school teachers being fired due to budget shortfalls. The operation of horse-drawn carriages in NYC is inhumane and unsafe; the carriages add to traffic congestion; and the manure contaminates the streets and the park (while NYers pay for the clean up). Time to ban – not subsidize – horse-drawn carriages.    
      Donny Moss
      — Donny Moss

      3. May 21, 2010 2:45 pm Link  
      Let’s have some reality here. Shamrock Stables has been subsized by the NYC government to the tune of at least a half million dollars — paying $5,000 per month for a space that was worth $60,000 since 2001 … depriving the city of this added revenue. How many other businesses do you know of that lose their lease or have their rent raised that get this kind of subsidy from the City.  

      None – that’s how many!

      So why is this industry such a favored child when the majority of people in NYC want to see it end.  
      If the stable closed down, McKeever has threatened that he would have to bring his horses to the Amish where they would slave up to 12 hours a day.  
      Now the ASPCA puts it money where its mouth is and makes a good faith offer to find good homes for all of the horses and it is refused?  
      It is time to shut this industry down and this should be the beginning. The city should buy back the medallions and not reissue them to anyone.  
      this is a good example of the existing loophole law that will allow the McKeevers to sell their horses at auction/slaughter or into another industry.
      — Corrie

      4. May 21, 2010 3:31 pm Link  
      If carriage horse drivers truly loved the horses they put to work for commercial profit, allowing them to go to horse sanctuaries would be automatic, should Shamrock Stables fail to find affordable shelter. City welfare for the carriage horse industry isn’t appropriate, and the bill to dismantle the trade included a provision for drivers to be retrained in another livelihood, and for horses to get out of the racket of having to perform as machines. Steve Nislick wasn’t involved in the drafting of that legislation, so casting stones at him is irrelevant.  
      As the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Friends of Animals has said: There is no way to improve the lives of more than 200 horses forced to endure a daily existence contrary to their basic needs, in a chaotic environmental totally at odds with their physiology. One can’t make a wrong situation justifiable. Let New York City get the horses ut of shackles, off the streets, and into sanctuaries where they can live their remaining years in dignity.

      Priscilla Feral
      Friends of Animals
      — Priscilla

      5. May 21, 2010 3:34 pm Link  
      Shamrock Stables has been subsidzed for the last ten years by NYC for at least $55,000 a month–at a total loss to taxpayers of at least $450,000. Let that sink in for a while, readers, as you ponder the teacher firings, park closings and fire-house closings going on right now.
      The fact that this is a private, cash only business that exploits and mistreats horses and routinely rips off tourists by illegally overcharging makes this even more outrageous.
      In a previous NY Times Blog, Ian McKeever, owner of Shamrock admitted that he could not affort to pay what his stable rent ~should~ cost–at least $60,000 a month (as opposed to the shocking $5,000 a month he’s been paying).
      “We knew this would be developed at some point,” said Mr. McKeever, who pays $5,000 a month in rent. Mr. McKeever said he believed comparable stables would cost $60,000 a month to rent, which he said he and his tenants could not afford.”
      To Carolyn Daly: If a parent is incapable of properly caring and providing for their children, they should be taken away, and the same applies for horses. Clearly, Mr. McKeever is incapable of running an economically viable business without being susidized by taxpayer dollars. Shamrock Stables knew for years that their lease, and the free ride, was going to be over, yet they’re still standing their with their hands out. Haven’t you taken enough, already?
      Ian, and everyone else at Shamrock should face reality and accept the generous offer of placing their horses into safe sanctuaries & refuges where they can live what is left of their life in peace. If Shamrock can’t even pay the rent, I can guess exactly where those horses would end up if they don’t find another free ride soon–the killer buyer auctions and then the slaughterhouse, so they can squeeze a few more dollars out of them. These horses are mere commodities to exploited for the carriage industry, and every dollar of profit is squeezed out of them until they either die or can no longer perform their forced labor of pulling carriages through chaotic & dangerous city streets unnatural and inhumane for a horse.
      The fact that the offer of a safe haven for the horses was met with scorn by their owners is not a surprise. What is suprising is exactly ~how~ the McKeever brothers hope to stay in business when they’ve already admitted that they are incapable of paying a non-subsidized rent.
      Intro 86, sponsored by Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito would phase out horse-drawn carriages and replace them with eco-friendly antique cars–a solution that benefits both workers, who would have better-paying, less dangerous jobs, and would finally end the pathetic sight of these broken-down, exploited horses,shackled and blindered, dragging endless loads of tourists through the hell of midtown traffic day after day. These horse did nothing to justify the hellish existence they must suffer through–one that denies everything natural to a horse, in an urban environment incapable of meeting their needs.
      Please contact your NYC Council Member and ask them to sign on in support of Intro 86. New York City can do better.
      — Edita

      6. May 21, 2010 4:59 pm Link  
      NYC carriage horses are beasts of burden that are used sheerly for profit. The fact that the owners subject them to the hazards of a modern urban environment, including walking in city traffic and getting injured and killed, shows their lack of any kind of compassion for these animals. Of course they will not take up the ASPCA on its offer–they don’t care about the welfare of these animals, only their bottom line.
      — Bernie

      7. May 21, 2010 5:22 pm Link  
      I don’t understand, just a few days ago, McKeever stated he was going to dump the horses with the Amish and have them work over 12 hours. Again and Again this industry proves to us all that they are in business for the MONEY and not the horses. Why wouldn’t they want this horses retired in pasture. It makes me real sick how Christine Quinn and Karen Kosolowitz continues to support this cruel industry
      — Daniel
      8. May 21, 2010 5:25 pm Link

      This video was uploaded recently, it is testimony at the hearing and proves how there are NO reforms at all for the care of these horses. They are still dump in slaughter houses after years of abuse. FACT
      — Daniel

      9. May 21, 2010 5:28 pm Link  
      The Carriages and Horses are one of the City’s real tourist attractions and it would be a shame if this vanished. Other cities in the US also have them like Denver and Boston. It is a piece of History which compliments New Yorks Landmark Buildings and Central Park.
      — Perry Rothenberg

      10. May 21, 2010 5:30 pm Link  
      The taxpayers of this city have been fed a load of horse-manure by industry supporters like Bloomberg and Quinn, his right-hand man. Their backroom deals stink more than the manure…if that were possible Shamrock has been paying $5,000/mo for stable rental of City-owned property!!! A tiny, cubby hole apt.costs almost that much! It is outrageous to think that we have been subsidizing this animal-abusing industry all these years, while they pay below-market rates and people are sleeping on the streets and in homeless shelters….And now, they expect taxpayers to continue to support them while they plead poverty, after getting a sweetheart deal from the City Council that allows them to (over)-charge dumb tourists $50 for a 20 minute ride. Talk about chutzpah!!! I’m about to take out my violin! Let’s all pass around the hat for these “poor” carriage horse abusers who have been ripping off the public for years. Who do they think they’re kidding?
      — Zizi

      11. May 21, 2010 5:43 pm Link  
      This only proves how this industry doesn’t care at all about the horses. Here is a chance to save the horses and put them in a PASTURE and RETIRE. Why say no? Because they don’t care about the horses but their pockets. NYers, why are we bailing them out? why are we supporting a private industry that abuses animals. And Mark states Union. Lies. This union is a fake. Workers unionize not owners and animal abusers. All the illegal Mexican and Turkish carriage drivers are not in the union. There is no standard wage nor benefit. I would ask the teamsters of local 553 to question why Demos Demopoulos has done this dealing with this industry. Money involved? You can lose you union status when it is discovered there was unfair labor practices. On the members rolls since this industry supposedly join in 2009, there are less number in membership. this is not a real union
      — Greenie

      12. May 21, 2010 5:56 pm Link  
      Dear New York Times    
      Thank you for your story which has help find homes for the horses and thank you ASPCA and NY-Class for stepping up to the plate. I hope the McKeevers do the right thing and permit the horses to these pastures to retire instead of killing them

      Karen Fitzgerald.
      — Karen
      13. May 21, 2010 6:21 pm Link

      These horses are living beings who feel pain. Yes, they have built America and is this how we reward them? Enslaving them to pull carriage all over midtown and herald square in all that traffic, Horses passing out in the summer from heat exhaustion. I recalled all the tourists’ scared and disgusted expression as the doormen from across ran with buckets of water to hose the passed out horses. Is this the history we want? do you remember Smoothie, Juliet, and all the other horses who died on the streets and one found dead in warehouse/stable. This cruelty needs to end. It has gone on for TOO long.
      — Athena

      14. May 21, 2010 6:36 pm Link    
      So they don’t have money but yet can afford a publicist ? And why is Carolyn Daly saying the children aren’t for sale??? Would she put her children in midtown to pull carriage in the heat and standing behind exhaust pipes of idling buses? That is sick.
      — Austin Mendez

      15. May 21, 2010 7:08 pm Link  
      Carriage rides may be a novelty but horses are living creatures that deserve better than a life of servitude. I applaud the ASPCA’s offer.
      — joojooluv
      16. May 21, 2010 7:22 pm Link  
      It’s funny how the ASPCA has no interest in horses that are, as we speak, being sent to slaughter.    
      All over the country, everyday, hundreds of horses are run through auctions and end up in the killpen. Right here in NJ there are several horse rescues that work day and night to rescue them and find homes for them, at great cost and personal effort.    
      Why doesn’t the ASPCA assist these groups?  
      Because they can’t grandstand on it, because it’s not sexy enough an issue, because Steve Nislick (the head of that “other non-profit”, NYClass), isn’t paying them to do it.  
      A cynical, disingenuous ploy to piggyback the misfortune of people who actually give horses homes and a purpose.  
      The ASPCA should hang its bloated corporate head in shame – but it has no shame to display.
      — michaleen

      17. May 21, 2010 8:52 pm Link  
      Shamrock Stables asks for Compassion from the City.  
      Bit where is the compassion in storing horses in a garage, or in old tenements or warehouses where the other horses are “housed”?

      Where is the compassion in working these horses in the blazing heat without shade, oppressive humidity, and storms of winter?

      Where is the compassion in waliking the horses through City traffic and forcing them to breathe toxic fumes?

      Where is the compassion when the horses go from the shafts of their carriage to a standing stall and back again day after day, week after week and month after month?

      Where is the compassion when the horses go to the auction house…and then, perhaps the slaughterhouse?
      — Jacqueline

      18. May 21, 2010 8:57 pm Link  
      This situation is one where if you do not get control of your destiny, destiny will control you, meaning: this industry has stubbornly clung to an outdated idea that it is somehow ok to have horses in one of the most congested and noisy cities in the world. Instead of at least acknowledging the inhumane aspect of keeping horses here under cruel living and working conditions, the owners have denied, refuted, and stubbornly clung to what they must know is wrong. Instead of taking advantage of an offer that will mean a humane retirement and/or existence for all of their horses, and prevent them from a horrifying injurious trip to slaughter to experience being hacked apart piece by piece, their stubborn pride born of not wanting to “give an inch” to animal protection people wins out over their professed love of the horses. I pray that these owners will reconsider “staying in a dying business”. This is not about who is right or wrong, this is about finding a peaceful end for horses that have suffered endured more than any of us could endure for one day.
      — Susan Davis

      19. May 21, 2010 9:13 pm Link  
      Are you listening, Mayor Bloomberg? or anyone from your office?    
      If you bail out this money sucking industry one more time at the expense of all the honest taxpayers and all those firehouses that are closing, teachers losing jobs, legitimate stores that are forced out of their homes due to over development >>>>> then you should be impeached, you are worse than I thought and you do not deserve to be in office.

      WELFARE FOR THE CARRIAGE INDUSTRY HAS TO STOP. No more bailouts, looking the other way when this cash only business cheats customers or fails to pay the taxes it should or simply disobeys a myriad of traffic laws because of its feeling of entitlements.

      This welfare monster was created years ago but it has been perpetuated and enabled by the Mayor and City Council. It is time to cut the umbilical cord.
      — Arbonne Dulay

      20. May 21, 2010 10:02 pm Link  
      It is time for the white trash Irish carriage owners (btw I am Irish American, and white, but I am NOT the uneducated whtie trash, that drive the horses, and that Liam Neeson supports….) who NEVER do what is right for the horses… it is all about the money. . . and as a veterinarian, (BTW the veterinarians who testify for the Carriage Horse industry are like the low life lawyers we all joke about….They are PAID by the carriage horse industry to testify…) I can state unequivocally that these horses are abused, and inhumanely treated. The best thing that can happen is that their stables are taken over for high income condos or apartments.
      — John G DVM

      21. May 21, 2010 10:06 pm Link  
      It is time for the white trash Irish carriage owners (btw I am Irish American, and white, but I am NOT the uneducated whtie trash, that drive the horses, and that Liam Neeson supports….) who NEVER do what is right for the horses… it is all about the money. . . and as a veterinarian, (BTW the veterinarians who testify for the Carriage Horse industry are like the low life lawyers we all joke about….They are PAID by the carriage horse industry to testify…) I can state unequivocally that these horses are abused, and inhumanely treated. The best thing that can happen is that their stables are taken over for high income condos or apartments.
      — John G Hynes DVM

      22. May 22, 2010 12:29 am Link    
      In her quest for more and more power, Christine Quinn regularly deceives the public and, at times, breaks the law. One doesn’t need to care about the carriage horses at all to be offended by this most recent lie, which was picked up by unsuspecting media outlets around the country:.

      We must all speak out against and spread the word about Quinn’s lies and corruption. Too much is at stake here….
      — Donny Moss

      23. May 22, 2010 1:10 am Link    
      If the McKeevers care about horses, as they claim to, they should rush to take NY Class and the ASPCA’s generous offers to help find homes for the horses.
      — Rina Deych, RN

      24. May 22, 2010 4:18 am Link    
      Dear New York Times,    
      Thank you for covering this story. I would like to bring up a point for this equation of how better things would be for working horses had they never had a job. 100,000 unwanted and unaffordable horses went to slaughter pens last year in this country alone. The Friends of Animals, PETA, The Peace Advocacy Network, or the ASPCA could have bought any of them for less than $200, and then given them a place to live for the rest of their natural lives and fed and cared for them until they die peacefully in a field, like we all want to die. I don’t think that very many of those horses who made that one-way trip to Mexico and came back as dogfood were former carriage horses, because I’ve met some working horses that are in their 20’s and in perfect health.
      You also did not give the horses as sentient beings enough credit. Those animals are much bigger than we are. They also have brains, can make decisions, and have conscious thought. They can refuse. Some do. Some do not. Some agree wholeheartedly with the idea of going out for a walk because they need to move 12 to 16 hours a day, and asphalt was a paving material used in the 1830’s to provide better footing for horses.
      Instead of crowing about it, you should just go down and bring one a carrot, and thank him for doing his job.
      — A. Chappelle
      25. May 22, 2010 7:45 am Link    
      Something stinks in the city of NY, and it is the symbiotic relationship between this business and the city council that permits it to continue in business. It is time for NYC taxpayers to stop subsidizing cruelty. I don’t want my tax dollars going to exploiters who would have horses living and suffering in abominable conditions. This is blood money for Shamrock stables, and for anyone profiting from it. NYC doesn’t need blood money!
      — rac

      26. May 22, 2010 8:13 am Link    
      I agree with what Susan and Arbonne say above. This is an industry that has always been opposed by the average person, especially as people get more enlightened about animal suffering and abuse.

      But we have a city government that operates in a very questionable (fascist) fashion and what the people say does not matter. (Oh, you thought this was a democracy?)

      Because most of the industry happens to be Irish and back in the day, the Irish ruled NYC, the support of Irish politicians was expected. After all when the industry began in its present form, the city was ruled by Mayor William O’Dwyer who was in office from 1946 to 1950. O’Dwyer was born in Ireland. It was within those years that he issued 68 medallions to his cronies who were primarily Irish. And therein began a terrible tradition of INSTITUTIONALIZED CRUELTY. And BTW – this is when the industry started in NYC – not the 1800s as the drivers would have you believe.

      The Jewish, Italian or African American politicians who needed Irish support for some deal or other went along with them. What did they care, it was only horses. Unfortunately, racial politics continue to rule the city. It is not what you can do, but what your ethnic, religious or gender background is and how much money you have.

      That said, this industry, replete with entitlements, got away with murder for years. Look at the history of legislation. Even though many people did not want to see the industry continue, there were never any compromises. They not only got what they wanted, but even more. And the Council supported them.

      This industry fought tooth and nail not to give back one hour to shorten the working day of the horses; not to give back one degree of temperature so the horse can slave as many hours as possible. And in 1994, they were allowed to work the city streets again when Peter Vallone, then speaker, gave in to the industry. So glad we no longer have to deal with him.

      Shamrock Stables is not deserving of any special perks. They had years to address their stable issue, but like children, they expected the city to take care of them like they had in the past. Well, they need to grow up and face reality like every other business that has lost space due to progress. The handwriting has been on the walls for years. The industry has had a good run, but the heyday is over. it is time to shut down. Many people have had to retrain and start over. It is not easy, but smart people know when it is time to move on and they plan for it.

      The ASPCA does have the means and connections to find homes for the horses who will be displaced, but I do not believe they thought the offer would be accepted because of what they are dealing with. The fact that the McKeevers have turned it down only shows that they are spiteful and would prefer their horse to go to auction/slaughter or back to the Amish.

      There are presently hearings on NYC charter reform. I would like to see the Council structure reformed so that EACH COUNCIL MEMBER HAS REAL POWER AND IT IS TRULY A DEMOCRATIC BODY. It should not be in the hands of one person, the Council Speaker, as it is now. This happens to be the vindictive and small minded Christine Quinn now but before her it was Gifford Miller, then Peter Vallone for many years before term limits. Vallone, in particular, was a power maniac and supporter of the carriage industry. From Queens, he needed to pay homage to the Irish power brokers from his borough. Same with Quinn. She got her job though heavy handed politics by the Irish power brokers in Queens – led by the late Tom Manton and now by Joe Crowley.

      This has turned into an extremely powerful position even though the Speaker is elected to the council only by constituents in her district. The Queens Democratic party should not be deciding who gets to be Speaker of the City Council. The Speaker should not be deciding what bills are passed.

      You will not find me at any of these bogus charter “reform” hearings. NYC government is not democratic. Please do not ever think it is. But the fix is in. It will continue to be just as it is or if changed – changed to meet Mr. Bloomberg’s specifications.

      But hope springs eternal. So keep the faith and get involved with the next mayoral election in 2013 when we elect a new mayor. Time goes by quickly. And you have to be in it to win it. Stay tuned.

      Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages
      — Elizabeth

      27. May 22, 2010 9:59 am Link    
      When is the City Room going to do a story about the sham “non-profit” the ASPCA and Steve Nislick, president of Edison Properties have been running for the last few years raising money on the backs of horses and working people to pay the salaries of a few of he top ASPCA executives? How can a group funded by millionaire developers be called “non-profit”? And how can one hold their head up when all they do is lie and make up stories to get cheap publicity (like this story)? The people of New York and the readers of City Room deserve better and deserve the full story, not the PR story by Steve Nislick.
      — Mark

      28. May 22, 2010 10:06 am Link  
      It is really helpful article about this topic. I am so much excited because it is very funny and effective article. It is not only simple information and its more then this. If you have been wondering on the strength of Internet marketing campaign so far I’m sure you would have been able to realize it by now.
      — Dan Rudder

      29. May 22, 2010 1:16 pm Link    
      If you treated your children the way they are treating the horses, you’d go to jail and your children would be placed with children’s services / foster homes.

      And with regard to tourists, they DO NOT come to ride carriage horses. They come to shop, eat, visit the Empire State bldg, and shop!
      — EJ

      30. May 22, 2010 6:03 pm Link    
      ENOUGH-Bloomberg, how long are you going to hold on to this archaic, cruel and dangerous side show at the tax payers expense. It reflects so badly on our city. Animal exploitation and cruelty on display for all to see. We should be so ashamed of ourselves in this day and age. LET THESE POOR HORSES RETIRE IN LOVING HOMES AND SHUT DOWN THIS INDUSTRY-PERIOD!!!!!!!!! NOT ON MY TAX DOLLAR!
      — Patricia Austin-Puccio

      31. May 22, 2010 7:03 pm Link

      Since when is Elizabeth from the fringe animal rights group Ban-something or other an average person?
      — Mark

      32. May 22, 2010 9:22 pm Link  
      Hello.. out there.. these horse are their PROPERTY.. get it.. the OWN them just as you own your home.. would you say.. give your home to the ASPCA if they wanted it for an animal shelter?? or maybe give PETA your place of business just to be”kind”.. These animals have worth.. if the ASPCA wants them they should PAY for them.. a price that is what the property owners want.. honestly yo would think that all of you are ready willing and able to put one of these horse in your own back yard.. forcing people to give up their property without due compensation is NOT the American way.. in fact it is called coercion.
      If the conditions are so “abominable” why are you down there.. HELPING instead of complaining..
      — alice in lalaland

      33. May 23, 2010 7:52 am Link  
      Everyone who comes to New York City wants to ride a carriage through Central Park because they’ve seen it in the movies and on TV. But if they knew more about the real lives of the horses who pull the carriages – if they only knew where and how they live – they would be horrified. I work next door to a stables (for the past 15 years). That’s a very sad story.
      — NR


Coalition To Ban
Horse-Drawn Carriages

A Committee of the Coalition For New York City Animals, Inc.

The Coalition for
NYC Animals, Inc.

P.O. Box 20247
Park West Station
New York, NY 10025


To honor
Bobby II Freedom
previously known as Billy
ID# 2873 rescued by the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Equine Advocates on June 25, 2010 from the New Holland auctions.

In memory of
Lilly Rose O'Reilly
previously known
as Dada ID# 2711
R.I.P.August, 2007