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Barbara F-  January 30, 2009      

I write to support, as does the ASPCA, that The City of New York ban the carriage horse industry.  Neither the ASPCA or the NYPD, nor Consumer Affairs have the personnel to enforce regulations, inspect stable conditions, track vet records, follow up on accidents, ensure availability of drinking water or food, ticket illegal street rides, or monitor overworked horses.  Tourists complaints include paying $40 or more for ½ hour rides that originate at Columbus Circle U-turn in the street and end at the end of the horse queue across from The Plaza - - never entering the Park at all.

Too many horses are found dead in their stables (often due to colic – caused by poor diets and overwork) as Clancy * did last February 7th at Park View Realty’s Clinton Park Stable, 618 W 52nd St.  You have every right to act since NYC’s Economic Development Corporation gave over $700,000 in incentives; see “A New Place to Sleep (Standing Up).” Aug 10, 2003, The New York Times.  That is the same amount ( the owner now seeks for one share of his stock!

Clancy’s same fate was suffered by Juliet (found dead the morning after her owner whipped her repeatedly in public), see Sept.16, 2006 “For Central Park Carriage Horse, Death Arrives Inelegantly,” Tina Fineberg, The New York Times. The ASPCA was founded 142 years ago when Henry Burgh saw a horse whipped to death; sadly, even providing water is still an issue!  Horses that have died due to crashes (Tony hit by a bus in 1990; Spotty in January 2006 on 9th and 50th) are well known, but many incidents are covered up and untraceable.  According to Department of Health records from 2004 and 2005, the majority of the horses that died (6 of them under 9 yrs. old) died in the stables.

To be a licensed driver, the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs only requires a mere 5-day apprenticeship to learn how to fit a harness, hitch and unhitch a horse, and drive a horse drawn cab “for the last two days of the apprenticeship.”  Shockingly, a NYS driver’s license is not required!

I heard a crash when I lived on West 44th, looked out to see a bloodied horse, grabbed bath towels and ran to 10th Ave.  The shaken UPS driver left before the police arrived and the carriage driver just sat to wait for another horse to arrive! Thankfully, a medical resident who had seen it happen used the towels as a tourniquet on his head.  The two of us (a sight, both covered in blood) led the dark brown/black mane horse to the stable on 38th.  (Note: 911 would not take the call for a horse being hit; I fought to have that rectified.)  The driver had run a red light (very common on 10th Avenue) yet no ticket was issued and despite trying, we were never able to track the fate of that horse.

Please take the opportunity to pet a Mounted Police horse (15 year lifespan); look them right in the eye and then go look into a carriage horses’ eyes (4 year life span).  These sensitive, social animals stand on the sunny side of Central Park South in blazing heat, on hot asphalt, are hitched up for hours unable to turn their heads or scratch an itch, and stand in rain and snow and work when roads are icy.  The pollution from bus fumes and noise also take its toll: Smoothie reacted to loud “street music,” broke her leg, ran into a tree, and died at the scene September 2007.

In March of 2007, our horse-loving Mayor Mike opened a 22,500 square foot facility on Pier 76 (35th Street) for 15 Mounted Unit horses (it can hold up to 28) with a 6,500 square foot heated training ring, hay loft, horse shower, and spacious box stalls that took less than six months to build.  What about the carriage horses? If a stable was built in Central Park offering rides for inside the park during set hours – what a lovely experience for all.  But the private Central Park Conservancy is not interested.

Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn, and all Council members should go on to see compelling footage that clearly demands a ban!  The threats in the comments that follow these videos are vile.  Last week (January 22nd), John Stewart interviewed an Irish actor that is speaking for the industry. See   This actor sadly spoke knowing well that any stable in Ireland, especially Co. Kildare, far excels the stable he was touting just behind The Daily Show’s studio on 11th and 52nd..

On a hot day last summer (8/16, I asked a carriage driver to please offer his horse some water; his response to me in front of tourists was, “Why?  No one wants to see a horse pee!”  Nothing happens since there is no oversight for this cruelty.  Horses should just not be allowed to be driven, stand, and share city streets with trucks, buses, cabs, tourist buses, fire trucks, limos, etc.  Vote for INTRO 658!

This is a very lucrative, cash industry. Although not licensed to sell liquor, champagne at $126 a bottle is offered!  See – click on Street Rides ”arranged…after 9 p.m.; weeknights…east of 7th Avenue; west of 7th Avenue would be after 11:30 p.m.; Weekends are somewhat less restricted; Typical credit card rides are generally 5% higher than cash. We highly recommend cash.  Weekday rides start at 10AM, Weekends start at 9AM. .Night rides go until at least 1AM or 2AM.”  If truth is sought past employees should be subpoenaed and be questioned.

These intelligent animals only have you to speak for them by voting yes on INTRO 658.  Until completely phased out, do ask MTN & 20th  Precincts to observe that water and food is available and insist on random stall inspections.  A ban is the only humane response to what is truly happening.

Carriage rides are lovely in off-traffic venues.  This is also not an illegal immigrant or an anti-Irish issue.  I’m half-Irish (County Cork).  This is about the horses.  The venom that driver’s have directed to those caring about what they are seeing is appalling.  My husband and I and many friends have seen blatant mistreatment of these horses.  We lived in Hell’s Kitchen for 18 years and saw how they are treated - - yanking their heads to change congested lanes, noses to tail pipes, open sores, forced to gallop up 10th, and seeing the constant U-turns into traffic on Central Park South.  Please end this.

* The ASPCA had to fight to ascertain the cause of Clancy’s death (ID # 3175) in the stables on West 52nd.  The NYC Department of Health had refused to provide its records to ASPCA investigators.  In 2008 there were 221 licensed horses, 293 drivers, and 68 carriages. In September 2007, an audit found that the DHMH and the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) had abandoned many responsibilities. (The DHMH reviews and approves certificates of health for carriage horses, and the Department of Consumer Affairs oversees the licensing of horses, drivers, carriages, and stables.)  From July 2005 to March 2007, the DHMH failed to perform a single inspection of the condition of horses in the field, as required by law, and 57 of 135 health certificates handled by the DCA showed evidence of switching horses in order to present a healthy animal to inspectors (horses with the same license number differed in age, breed, and even sex from year to year).  A tour bus company in Manhattan was put out of business (thanks to Christine Quinn) for license plate switching!          Source:                                     

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