Weekly updates about issues and actions concerning New York City's Carriage Horses

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15 April 2007 - Vol. # 24

WE'RE BACK!!! - Volunteering - Accidents - local and Other Cities - Charleston

tablingTabling on Saturday, April 21st - Christine Quinn's district
The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages will be tabling on Saturday, April 21st in Speaker Christine Quinn's district. We need volunteers to help us get signatures on petitions to the Mayor and City Council -- and to hold posters. This is not a demonstration but an educational event. It is an excellent opportunity to help the horses and get to see how supportive both tourists and New Yorkers are. You can volunteer for one hour or four. We need to know when you will be there so we are sure to have coverage. Please contact Teresa at if you can volunteer.

WHEN: Saturday, April 21, 2007 WHERE: midtown - information will be given to volunteers. TIME: 1-5 PM

Accident on Central Park South - not reported by media
NYC accidentSometime during the afternoon of Friday the 13th, there was an accident involving a horse and carriage near the hack line on Central Park South. This was reported to us by a friend who observed a horseless carriage parked on CPS. Thinking that this was odd, she investigated and learned that a taxi had crashed into the carriage at Grand Army Plaza leaving some visible damage on the front. The horse would have been connected to the front of the carriage and quite possibly was injured.

She was told that the horse had to be walked back to the stable - West Side Livery on 38th St. just off 12th Avenue - two miles away. Our friend notified the ASPCA and they arrived on the scene about 20 minutes later. The carriage license plate is #1235.

No officials - not the ASPCA, the NYC Mounted Police, Parks Department - or anyone from any of the agencies that are supposed to oversee this industry were on site. We have heard from many people that there are numerous accidents that never get reported. It is not in the interest of the industry to report them so if they can get away with avoiding this, they will. And - drivers are not required by law to report an accident. We want to know what happened to the horse!

Driver injured - horse OK
Associated Press - April 10, 2007 A runaway horse pulled a carriage with two out-of-town tourists on a wild ride through downtown streets, until a teenager rode to the rescue in a pursuing taxi, leaped out and grabbed the horse's reins. The driver of the Yellow Rose Carriage was thrown from her seat when a van crashed into the buggy Sunday afternoon. 'The carriage driver lady just flew off the carriage,' said William Basler, 19. Basler ran after the carriage to try to stop it. A taxi driver saw what was happening, slowed and told Basler to jump in. The cab chased and passed the carriage, and Basler jumped out, grabbed the reins and stopped the horse. 'It was just instinct,' Basler said. 'I was just worried about the people inside of it. 'He needed instinct, since he said his only experience with horses was riding one once when he was 15.

Police said carriage driver Kathleen Moriarty, 53, was briefly knocked unconscious but was not seriously hurt. The passengers complained of some pain and were examined at a hospital, said police Sgt. Matthew Mount. The horse was not injured. Police said the van driver, Timothy D. Carlson, 46, of Indianapolis, faces several preliminary charges including felony possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence, public intoxication and operating a vehicle without a license.

response to Indianapolis accident - An animal rights group today urged a ban on horse-drawn carriages Downtown after an allegedly drunk driver earlier this month hit a carriage, throwing the driver to the ground. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says similar crashes - most involving sober drivers - have taken place in many cities where the rides are offered. "Horns, whistles, sirens, engines, and the constant buzz of city traffic can cause any horse to become frightened and bolt," said a PETA press release. "A growing number of cities have realized that these antiquated contraptions have no place in city traffic." "Horse-drawn carriages are not only dangerous but also cruel," the press release added. " Horses are forced to work long hours in extreme weather, pulling heavy loads while walking on hard pavement and inhaling exhaust fumes at nose level."

Peta says Biloxi, Miss.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Palm Beach, Panama City, Key West, Deerfield Beach, and Pompano Beach, Fla.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Camden, N.J.; and London, Paris, and Toronto have all implemented bans. PETA has sent a letter to Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson urging him to push for a ban. Peterson or a spokesman was not immediately available for comment. During the accident, the carriage driver was knocked unconscious. The horse bolted pulling the carriage with two riders several blocks before a bystander was able to chase down the carriage and bring it under control.

allowed to operate at 98 degrees
charleston carriageCharleston proposal to rein in carriages rolls toward council - Ordinance seeks stricter rules for animals' safety BY DAVID SLADE The Post and Courier - April 7 -- After nearly three years of study, an ordinance to regulate the horse- and mule-drawn carriages that are a fixture of the Charleston tourism industry will go before City Council on Tuesday. Members of the city's tourism subcommittee who crafted the eight pages of rules say the animal welfare standards in the ordinance largely reflect current practices in Charleston, but they would have the force of law if approved. "I think it's a huge improvement over what we have, which is basic animal cruelty laws," said Cathy Forrester, who headed the subcommittee. "What we are sending to City Council is very detailed." "Certainly there are people who are not happy with it," she said. "There are elements that some carriage owners feel are nit-picking, and some members of the public are unhappy with the temperatures and carriage loads." The ordinance would expand on existing regulations requiring horses to be diapered and dictating when and where carriages may travel.

The proposed ordinance would specify temperatures when carriage tours would have to cease, the conditions under which animals' temperatures must be taken, how many days an animal could work without a day off, stable conditions and more. "We pretty much do all that's in there," said Tom Doyle, owner of Palmetto Carriage Works and a member of the subcommittee. "Nowhere do I see the need for this (ordinance), except that there's nothing on the books now," he said. "I thought the system we had was great."

Under the proposed regulations, animal-drawn carriages would be allowed to operate in temperatures up to 98 degrees, which is the current standard. The animals' temperatures would have to be taken whenever the outdoor temperature reaches 90 degrees or more, and overheated animals would have to be given a break or taken out of service. The ordinance also would require that carriages cease operations if the heat index - a formula that reflects heat and humidity - exceeds 125. The proposed heat index standard is more strict than the existing guideline, which uses a different formula. Currently, carriage operations cease if the ambient temperature plus humidity add up to 185 or more, such as when it's 95 degrees with 90 percent humidity. The heat index used by the National Weather Service doesn't add the two numbers, but uses them to calculate an index number. If it were 95 degrees with 90 percent humidity, the heat index would be 127, for example. In some cases, the new heat index would take carriages off the streets when the old temperature-plus-humidity test would not, such as if it were 94 degrees with 80 percent humidity, creating a heat index of 129.

The most-vocal advocates of tougher limits on carriage operations, Pat Jones and Ellen Harley, could not be reached Friday for comment. Harley wrote in an October editorial that the city should require carriage operations to cease when the temperature hits 85 degrees and suggested limiting carriage loads to seven passengers. The proposed ordinance would allow animals to pull up to three times their weight, or a number of passengers permitted by a "certificate of appropriateness." Carriage animals would have to be fit, at least 3.5 years old and at least 950 pounds. Mary Margaret Baker, tourism coordinator for Charleston, said the ordinance would require significant record-keeping by carriage operators and would require that those records be available to city inspectors. Carriage animals would be checked by company veterinarians twice yearly, and once each year by a city-hired veterinarian. City Council will consider the ordinance at a meeting that will begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Greenberg Municipal Building, 180B Lockwood Drive.

ordinance passes and only one person speaks out for the horses
Warwick Jone of the Charleston Watch - noted that the ordinance required horses be taken off the street when the "heat index" reached 125 or above. The "heat index" was devised by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), and reflects a number of factors - in particular temperature and humidity. Mr. Jones said this threshold was too high. He submitted a chart prepared by NOAA that indicated that a heat index of 125 above was in the "danger" or "extreme danger" zones for humans and animals.

photo #1 - tabling in Speaker Quinn's district;  photo #2 - carriage accident on CPS;
photo #3 - horse involved in accident;  photo #4 - Charleston carriage

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."
-Martin Luther King

Thank you for caring about the horses, Elizabeth Forel - Coalition for NYC Animals, Inc. for the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages