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

Current Issue - Past Issues

5 August 2007 - Vol. # 43

Volunteer ** Report Accidents ** Accidents ** India bans Elephants! ** Letters - NYPD Animal Cruelty Unit ** What You Can Do ** Hot day at the Hack Line

next Saturday - August 11th
volunteers - Ausust 2007 - #2The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages needs volunteers to help get signatures on petitions to the Mayor and City Council -- and to hold posters. We are also asking passersby to participate in our post card campaign to Mayor Bloomberg. This is not a demonstration but an educational event. It is an excellent opportunity to help the horses and 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, August 11, 2007 WHERE: midtown - information will be given to volunteers. TIME: 1-5 PM.

If you would like to participate in our post card campaign, please contact us. Tell us how many you want and provide your mailing address. The card is addressed to Mayor Bloomberg and asks him to ban the horse-drawn carriage industry. We ask that you have your friends, family and coworkers sign the card and mail it in. To date, we have sent thousands of post cards to Mayor Bloomberg from New Yorkers and tourists alike. You may read more about it in a previous newsletter by clicking on the link above.

Ad in Village Voice - week of August 1st
7-4-07 - Bud  - legPeriodically, we will have an ad on the back page of the Village Voice. It reads: Witness a CARRIAGE HORSE ACCIDENT? contact us - Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages While we strongly encourage you to notify us so we can keep a log (we will also notify the ASPCA) - we also encourage you to call the ASPCA at (212) 876-7700 x 4450. If a horse is injured - or the carriage is involved in a vehicular accident, immediately call the NYPD at the Midtown North Precinct (212) 767-8400. They cover the area that includes Central Park. They operate 24/7 - the ASPCA does not. Carry these numbers and the information needed with you.

If you see an accident or any kind of questionable incident involving the carriage horses, you must get this information: TIME OF DAY; LOCATION; 4-DIGIT LICENSE PLATE NO. FROM THE BACK OF CARRIAGE - OR DESCRIPTION OF CARRIAGE IF THAT IS NOT POSSIBLE; 4-DIGIT ID NUMBER FROM RIGHT HOOF OF HORSE (this is not always possible) DESCRIPTION OF HORSE - i.e. black, brown and white - the reason for this is because the same horse is not necessarily used with the same cab; DESCRIPTION OF INCIDENT. However, if you are unable to get some of the information, make the complaint anyway. For example -- someone reported to me that they saw three carriages working during the severe thunder/electric storm on Friday night - August 3rd - one was going into Central Park with a customer. It was not possible to get plate numbers or even a description of the horses because it was seen from an apartment window. It is illegal to operate a horse carriage during adverse weather conditions, which include heavy rain.

Please reread the section under Existing Legislation on our web site and become familiar with it. Some things you may think are illegal are not. For example, if it is 85 degrees but feels like 95 - it is not against the law for the horses to be working. But if you see a horse carriage in Times Square during the day, it probably is -- unless the driver has a variance for an event, which is unlikely.

3 people injured - including a 4-year old girl
Dublin, GA accidentThree People Injured after Virginia Carriage- -- The Associated Press July 30, 2007 A 4-year-old girl on her way to her Roanoke, Va., birthday party was thrown from a horse-drawn carriage after two draft horses pulling it bolted. The child, the driver, and her teenage daughter were bruised and battered Sunday after the draft team galloped onto a brick sidewalk, clipping a wall, police and witnesses said. The horses were not injured. "It was one of the scariest things I've ever seen," a witness, David Cordell, said. "I saw them come flying out. I hope that little girl is all right. She was crying up a storm." Driver Deb Ferron was dragged for a short distance and suffered a bloodied elbow and scrapes. Her daughter, Brandi Ferron, 15, tried to restrain the carriage and a wheel ran over her leg. Brandi Ferron and the 4-year-old girl, who was not identified, were taken to a hospital for their injuries and released. Deb Ferron said she suspected a bridle might have come loose. The carriage sustained $2,500 to $3,000 in damage.

Both pictures are from the Dublin, Ga accident.

child broke collarbone; two other people have broken legs
Dublin, GA - 2WMAZ TV - 8/2/07 - Web Editor: Kari Webb -- An accident caused by a runaway horse pulling a carriage injured three people as a People gathered Wednesday night at the Poplar Springs North Baptist Church to begin several days of celebrating the church's beginnings. Some people arrived at church by horse and carriage rides, just as people did 200 years ago. Ten people piled into a carriage, looking for a fun time, when the horse got spooked and took off. Long-time church member Billy Strickland witnessed what happened next. "People started jumping off the wagon when they could," he said. "He really got spooked when the wagon rolled so fast and it ran into the back of the horse and spooked the horse that much more." Strickland says the horse's reaction sent folks flying off the carriage, and witnesses running to their rescue. Soon after, emergency vehicles arrived to tend to several injured people. "It was bad, but you know, it could have been worse," Strickland said. One child broke her collarbone and two other people broke their legs.

Watch the video.

Act of cruelty to force elephants to walk through the city's congested & polluted streets. - NYC Council Members - Let India be an example!
elephant india 1Victory for animal rights group as elephants banned from roads July 31, 2007 - Elephants are revered all around India as manifestations of the Hindu god Ganesh - and nowhere more so than in the film and financial capital of Bombay. Despite its affection for the giant beasts, Bombay has become the first Indian city to ban them from its streets after an 18-month campaign by animal rights activists. The state government of Maharashtra, of which Bombay is the capital, ruled last week that it was an act of cruelty to force an elephant to walk through the city's congested and polluted streets. Local authorities have now promised to arrest any mahout, or keeper, who defies the ban and to confiscate their elephants and move the animals to a sanctuary outside the city. "The idea is to keep the animals away from the city roads and not victimize the owners," Shree Bhagwan, a senior official in the state forestry department, said. "I have asked my staff to request owners to leave the city limits . . . at least the elephants will be spared the harassment of walking on tar roads amid traffic. Of course, if they aren't co-operative, we will have to use force."

Bombay has an estimated fourteen elephants, owned by five or six families, which use them to beg or hire them out for weddings and other religious ceremonies. They are often seen plodding along the city's roads, waiting outside wedding halls or parading along the seafront in ceremonial head-dresses and howdahs. The ban is the result of a campaign led by the Bombay chapter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), which delivered a report to police and forestry officials last week. "We all revere Ganesh, but look how the elephant is treated," Anuradha Sawhney, chief functionary of Peta in Bombay, told The Times. "The way they are treated is abysmal, and their living conditions are pathetic," she said. "This ban is a step in the right direction, but we cannot stop here. We have to push for a ban in all urban areas." Peta's report gave examples of elephants being killed and injured, running amok in crowded areas and being used to break laws against begging. It highlighted the case of a 30-year-old elephant called Lakshmi, which died last year after being hit by a drunk driver. The report said that Bombay's elephants were often kept with their legs chained together, and developed sores on their feet from walking on hot, tarmac streets. It also said that they carried diseases that were harmful to humans, including tuberculosis and anthrax.

elephant - india 2Several Bollywood stars added their names to the report, including Sanjay Dutt, Rahul Khanna and Celina Jaitley. They and other animal rights activists welcomed the ban, urging other state governments to take similar action. But some criticised the government of Maharashtra for not making adequate preparations to rehabilitate the elephants, which are mostly from northeastern India. Bombay police have already run into trouble after arresting one offending mahout and chaining his 13-year-old elephant, also called Lakshmi, outside a police station. The mahout had to be released on bail five hours later because there was no one else to look after Lakshmi. Mr Bhagwan said that the government planned to build a rehabilitation centre in the forests of the Nashik region, about 125 miles (200km) northeast of Bombay. Failing that, the animals will have to be sent back to the North East, he said. There are about 3,600 tamed elephants in India, about 1,000 of which work in logging in the northeastern state of Assam, and 600 of which are used in religious ceremonies in the southern state of Kerala.

animal cruelty unit in NYPD - an idea whose time has come

August 1, 2007 Praise for policing animal cruelty Making the enforcement of animal cruelty laws mainstream is an idea whose time has come. Kudos to Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy for assigning a detective in each precinct to oversee animal cruelty issues ["Pet police on patrol," News, July 25]. SPCAs are generally too small to handle the number of cases that come before them. In New York City the ASPCA often has been criticized for not doing an adequate job in humane law enforcement. It has only 15 officers to serve a city of some 8 million people. They constantly make excuses for not getting the job done, but the truth is with such limited capabilities, it would be a Herculean feat. The city - its people and animals - deserves much better.

Animal cruelty laws and enforcement must be taken seriously. There is a precedent in the city for specialized units for housing, transit and the mounted police. Why not an animal cruelty unit? Elizabeth Forel - Editor's note: The writer is a founding member of the Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages. Manhattan

what you can do
thirsty horseMore pressure and more exposure is needed. Please continue to write a Letter to the Editor to the following media. Remember to always include your contact information - name, address, telephone and to keep the letter between 100 to 150 words. NYPost -; NYDaily News; Metro - AM-NY - NY Times -, NY Newsday And don't forget to contact Mayor Bloomberg and your City Council member - even if you already have.

The New York Times blog on Humane Law Enforcement is no longer available for posting but may still be viewed. The NYTimes blog on carriage horses is still available for posting. You are also welcome to post on our carriage horse blog . If you have not signed our online petition - please do so now and forward it to everyone you know. The petition is directed to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the NYC Council and asks them to support a ban of the horse-drawn carriage industry.

where is water for the horses?
August 2007 - hot summer day hack lineThis photo was taken at the shade-less hack line on August 4th. It was about 89 degrees depending on location - but it was unbearably humid. According to the law, the horses should not be working when it reaches 90 - but they must be told by an ASPCA agent and if he is not there (I did not see him) - then the drivers do not have to leave. These drivers were waiting to squeeze the last bit of business out of the horses before they were instructed to take them back to the stables. Sometime later, they were ordered back in. So at the hottest time of the day, they drive their horse and carriage through hot, midtown traffic to their warehouse stables - the furthest two miles from this location. By law, at that point, the tack should be removed from the horse -- but who is monitoring this? Most of the drivers wait until the temperature drops below 90 and then take their horse out again. Sure enough - as we were leaving at 5 PM - the carriages were out.

The carriage industry claims that they love their horses. These are empty words because their actions defy this comment. Anyone who really loves their horse would not have subjected him or her to the brutal heat and humidity of yesterday's weather - regardless of whether it was technically 90 degrees or not. We never see the horses getting water while they are on the hack line. Why? Is it because the drivers are trying to prevent them from urinating too much? The water trough in Central Park is filthy. More often than not, the driver will pass it by without letting his horse drink - either because there are drivers waiting to water their horse - or he wants to finish the ride so he can get another customer. And the horses - sweet, docile animals that they are - have no choice in this exploitation. The current law leaves this decision up to the owners. "Owners shall insure that appropriate and sufficient food and drinking water are available for each horse and that while working each horse is permitted to eat and drink at reasonable intervals. " But where is the definition of "appropriate," "sufficient," and "reasonable intervals?"

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
-Edmund Burke 

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