In a long-overdue audit into the Horse Carriage industry in New York
City, it has been reported that compliance with city regulations
enforcement is extremely inadequate.The report marked the first time the comptroller's office scrutinized
the city's monitoring of the carriage horse industry, which has long
drawn complaints from animal-rights advocates. The objections
intensified last year after Juliet, a horse that spent 17 years taking
visitors through the park, collapsed in front of a crowd and died hours
later.The city Department of Consumer
Affairs is in charge of licensing horses, drivers, carriages and
stables, while the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is tasked
with insuring that horses are able to work. The agencies generally
comply with city regulations, but efforts to enforce them are spotty,
the audit found.
Witnesses said the horse, which became startled by a street performer playing a drum, ran nearly a block along the sidewalk on the southern edge of the park before colliding with the tree, said Joseph Pentangelo, assistant director of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The witnesses, who spoke to ASPCA inspectors, said the crash spooked a second horse that took off into the busy street, carriage still attached. The buggy collided with a Mercedes Benz sedan, and both vehicles sustained minor damage. The sedan driver was issued a summons for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, Pentangelo said.
"We are devastated by the tragic and sudden loss of our mare Smoothie," said Carolyn Daly, a spokeswoman for the Horse & Carriage Association of New York. "This afternoon's freak accident was overwhelming to all of us in the industry who so dearly love our horses."
Smoothie, 13, had been a carriage horse for only a year, Daly said.
The incident comes amid increased scrutiny of the carriage horse industry in New York. An audit released last week by the city comptroller concluded the animals work without enough water, shade or oversight from authorities.
Last year, a horse pulling a Central Park carriage to a stable on the far West Side became spooked in traffic and galloped down a busy street until it collided with a car. The carriage driver was injured, and the horse had to be euthanized.