(CARRIAGE HORSES) NEW YORK — Oreo, a New York City carriage horse, bolted through the streets on Thursday after crashing into a limo. The terrified horse ran four blocks through traffic and among pedestrians before emergency responders could stop him. Read on for more on similar incidents with carriage horses and why many animal advocates and New York City citizens hope to have carriage horses taken off the streets. — Global Animal
Opposing Views, Phyllis M Daugherty
A brown and white carriage horse, named Oreo, bolted through Manhattan streets on Thursday, August 16, about 4:20 p.m., after being “spooked” during a collision with a black limo near Central Park, police officials reported.
The terrified animal, broke loose from the carriage to which he was harnessed and ran four blocks before emergency responders could capture him. During the frantic race through traffic, Oreo apparently also ran into a parked car, officials said.
A witness said that the horse appeared to panic and whinny, then fell on its side. Oreo was still wearing a harness with red velvet and he was bleeding from cuts on his nose.
Oreo was seen a short while later tied to a lamp post on the west side of Ninth Avenue between West 57th and 58th streets, according to dnainfo.com. The NYPD’s Mounted Unit then took him to his home stable on West 52nd Street and 12th Avenue.
Chris Harvie, an Australian tourist said he saw the overturned carriage at West 60th and Broadway right after the crash happened. He stated that one of the carriage’s rear wheels was completely destroyed but there was no horse at the scene. It appeared that the carriage had collided with a black sedan., Harvie said. “The carriage was on its side. “The very nice black shiny limo was covered in horse poo.”
Officials stated that the carriage driver and two passengers sustained injuries and were taken to local hospitals.
Another carriage driver saw NYPD bringing the horse back to the stables. Christina Hansen, 32, who drives a 9-year-old horse named Tyson, said Oreo seemed to be fine. “He was on all four legs and he walked up the stairs to the stable,” she said, “Carriage harnesses are designed to break free in the event of an accident.”
On December 4, 2011, for the fourth time in six weeks, a horse pulling a carriage stumbled and fell in a Manhattan street in New York City. Heart-wrenching photos and films of the collapsed horse bound in attachments to the carriage and surrounded by bumper-to-bumper traffic were broadcast throughout the world. Volunteers stopped to help as the white Percheron struggled to its feet.
In June, a collision which injured a carriage horse occurred at Columbus Circle when the carriage collided with an SUV and a motorcycle and animal-protection advocate again urged that horse-drawn carriages be banned from New York streets. They blame local politician for not acting on an issue that is a daily threat to animal and human safety.
Donny Moss, winner of a 2009 Genesis award for “BLINDERS,” his compelling documentary on the inhumane life of horses who work in the horse-carriage industry in New York, believes politics stands in the way of compassion and reason:
“Is New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn waiting for a human death before she stops blocking legislative efforts to take these animals off of the congested streets of midtown Manhattan?”
“How many more accidents have to take place before NYC takes the lead from other major cities around the world, such as London, Beijing and Toronto, that have taken these horses off the streets and out of harm’s way?,” he asks.
And he may be right. Mayor Bloomberg recently declared, “Carriage horses have traditionally been a part of New York City. The tourists love them, and we’ve used from time immemorial, animals to pull things.” On his weekly radio address, Bloomberg said, “I think it’s something that a lot of tourists really love, it would be a shame to lose them,” WPIX reports.
Elizabeth Forel, President of the Coalition to Ban Horse-drawn Carriages, one of the organizers of a rally on Saturday at Central Park South and 5th Avenue, warns:
“So far, NYC has been lucky since no one has died in a horse-drawn carriage accident – YET. This has not been the case in other cities. In 2010, a passenger in a carriage participating in a parade in Iowa died from her injuries when she was thrown from the carriage after the horse spooked. Another woman – a bystander – was killed in Salzburg, Austria when a spooked horse plowed into her. It could happen in New York because conditions are ripe for it. The horses are accidents waiting to happen“
What will it take for New York City to ban horse-drawn carriages?