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ASPCA allows horses to work illegally during winter storm

December 17th, 2007 · No Comments


Carriage working during winter storm

DECEMBER 17, 2007

Dear Mr. Sayres:

Why did the ASPCA allow the horses to work for hours and hours on Sunday in miserable and dangerous conditions before sending them in?    The winter storm, which started on Saturday night, did not catch us by surprise.  As you know, those horses should never have left the “stables” on Sunday morning.

I have a proposal, but first:

On Saturday before the storm, hundreds of unsuspecting tourists lined up throughout the day to take a ride (see below).  In order to generate as many fares as possible, many of the drivers ran their horses around the loop as quickly as possible.  In the several hours that I observed at the hack lines, I did not see the horses get a rest, much less the 15 minute break every two hours that is required by law.   But that’s the least of it….

The two water troughs were EMPTY all weekend.  I didn’t see one horse watered in the several hours that I observed them.  Parks employees told me that a driver would have to fill a bucket in a public restroom if he wanted to water his horse – a logistical impossibility.

From Saturday night to Sunday afternoon, a winter storm with freezing rain battered down on NYC.  On Sunday, the wet and slippery streets of midtown were crawling with horses that were mixing with cars, buses and emergency vehicles.  How was this ever allowed to happen under the ASPCA’s watch?

As the freezing rain came down and the fierce wind blew, the carriage drivers protected themselves with warm clothes, rain gear and umbrellas that blew away with the wind.  One driver wore ski goggles.  Of course, the horses had NO protection from the elements and did ALL the work.  Because business was slower on Sunday than Saturday, I did see some of the drivers feed their horses wet grains between fares, but I did not see any horses being watered.

On a day when the drivers should be extra careful due to the dangerous driving conditions, they sailed through red lights, paying little to no attention to the pedestrians trying to cross the street.

And they raced down the slippery streets as fast as possible to get to the hack line so that they could start their long day of illegally overcharging customers.

Here’s my proposal:  Tell the DOH, the Mayor and the press that the ASPCA will remove its officer from the street because you can no longer enforce humane law for an inhumane practice.   The city continues to point to the ASPCA officer as proof that the industry is being operated humanely.    You have the power to remove that barrier and transfer the burden of oversight to the city, which, like the ASPCA, is not equipped to monitor this industry for humane treatment.  If the A removes its officer, then the rest of us can reasonably call for carriage rides to be suspended.

Please consider this tactic.

Thank you.

Donny Moss


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