Carriage Horse Drops Dead Trotting Toward Central Park

Necropsy scheduled to determine why animal died

By Chris Glorioso
|  Wednesday, Oct 26, 2011  |  Updated 3:28 PM EDT
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Matt Miller

Photo of the dead horse, covered by a tarp. By Matt Miller, courtesy of Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

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A necropsy is planned to determine why a carriage horse collapsed and died in Manhattan.     

The stout white horse named Charlie collapsed as it trotted toward Central Park around 9:30 a.m. Sunday, according to the ASPCA. Charlie had reportedly just left the 52nd Street Stables to begin the day's work when he toppled over.

It said a necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.     

The Horse and Carriage Association of New York called it a tragedy.

A spokesman for Teamsters Local 533, the union that represents horse carriage drivers, said the animal suffered from no known ailment and was not overworked. In fact, Charlie had only been giving rides for about 20 days in New York City.

"People are shocked because it happens so rarely and because it's such a large animal," said the spokesman, Demos Demopolous. "But there's nothing sinister about it, there's nothing vicious about it."

Donny Moss, an animal rights activist and filmmaker who directed a documentary about New York City's horse carriage industry, said horse carriages should be banned in the city.

"The point is that there are certain conditions in New York City that simply cannot be corrected in a way that would make this industry humane or safe," Moss said.

He conceded, though, there is no evidence that Charlie's owners violated any regulation.

Public advocate Bill de Blasio issued a statement Monday again calling for the ban of horse-drawn carriages in New York City.

"The collapse and death of a horse in Midtown yesterday is yet another sobering reason to replace horse drawn carriages with safer and more humane alternatives," said de Blasio. "I strongly support a bill in City Council that would preserve the jobs in this industry by replacing carriages with electric vehicles."

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