Carriage Horse Breaks Free Near Central Park

Three people were injured, though police say none of the injuries were life threatening

By Gus Rosendale
|  Friday, Aug 17, 2012  |  Updated 10:49 PM EDT
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Witnesses described the scene as chaos, as a carriage horse bolted, charging through traffic near Central Park Thursday.  News 4's Gus Rosendale reports.

NBC 4 New York

Witnesses described the scene as chaos, as a carriage horse bolted, charging through traffic near Central Park Thursday. News 4's Gus Rosendale reports.

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Three people were injured when a horse bolted away from its carriage on the streets of midtown Manhattan Thursday.

UPDATE: Spooked Horse Recovering After Accident

The Fire Department received a report of a horse colliding with a passenger car near Columbus Circle late Thursday afternoon. 

Witnesses said the horse then ran loose for several blocks, including through Columbus Circle.

"Apparently it struck a car here, and then it separated [from the carriage]," said a woman, who did not give her name. "The horse continued up Broadway, just galloping."

The woman said the carriage toppled back with two people in it. A man was taken away in a stretcher.

Police say  none of the injuries were life threatening.

The horse was corralled near 58th Street and 9th Avenue and taken off the street, police said. The animal was carted away by the NYPD Mounted Division. 

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals spokesman Joe Pentangelo says the 6-year-old horse will be kept off the job until it's cleared by a veterinarian.

For years, some animal welfare advocates have been pushing for a ban on horse-drawn carriages, saying the city's busy streets are no place for the animals.

State Sen. Tony Avella of Bayside, Queens, is a longtime critic of the carriages and has sponsored legislation to outlaw them.

"It's just one accident after another," he said. "There's a reason horse carriages don't exist in modern-day society, much less in Midtown traffic."

But carriage owners disagreed, defending their safety record and treatment of their horses.

"The carriage horses have made over 2 million round trips to and from their stables in Central Park in the past 30 years," said Christina Hansen of the Horse and Carriage Association of New York City. "We've really only had a handful of accidents." 

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