On January 18, 2011, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn pushed a bill through the City Council that makes it illegal for NYers to tie up their dogs more than 3 hours. On its surface, this law sounds like a godsend for dogs because chaining is unspeakably cruel. But if you scratch the surface, you’ll see why the only one who truly benefits from this new law is Quinn herself and why this bill hurts our effort to ban horse-drawn carriages.
Because chaining is not a major problem in NYC compared to other forms of animal abuse, local animal advocates have not made this issue a legislative priority. Instead, they have worked tirelessly for years on meaningful bills that would, in fact, reduce animal suffering in the City — bills that Quinn has blocked in committee.
So, if the tethering law won’t actually help animals and is not a legislative priority for the community, then why did Quinn push this bill through the Council at lightning speed? [Read more →]
At a public hearing on April 27th, 2010, Mayor Bloomberg justified his support of the bill to protect and strengthen NYC’s horse-drawn carriage trade by stating that the ASPCA believes the industry is humane:
Why does the ASPCA protect the horse-drawn carriage trade by allowing lawmakers, carriage operators and even a Franciscan monk to (falsely) suggest that the ASPCA supports it?
Enabled by the ASPCA’s refusal to speak out publicly, Mayor Bloomberg and Council Member Christine Quinn held press conferences boldly declaring their support of NYC’s carriage trade. Now that they’ve passed a pro-industry bill, why would either of them address this issue for years to come? The passage of this bill is a MAJOR set back for the horses and the movement to end this inhumane trade.
Please let me know if you have any thoughts on how we can pressure the ASPCA to use their power, authority and influence to publicly demand a ban or phase out of horse-drawn carriages from the streets of NYC.
Stacy Wolf, Esq.
Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel
Dear Ms. Wolf:
Thank you for your quick reply, which is attached below.
The ASPCA cannot shift the blame for Friday’s events to the law. If the ASPCA wanted to “prevent the cruelty” of horses being forced to work in a storm, what stopped you from calling the stables at 9:00 a.m. to tell the drivers they would be ticketed if they picked up passengers once the impending storm started (at 10:00)?
Also, if you are going to use the administrative code to justify your inaction during an emergency, shouldn’t you be calling an emergency meeting with the DOH to amend the code?
Furthermore, how can you use the text of the law to justify ASPCA’s abysmal response to the storm when the carriage drivers break the law every day* in front of the ASPCA with no repercussions?
In your letter, you state that the “ASPCA agents ordered the carriage horse drivers to stop working as soon as the weather became ‘adverse’”. The weather became adverse when the storm started at 10:00 a.m. Why did the agents wait until 11:00? When ice is accumulating on the streets and on the their manes, every minute counts, especially in light of the horses’ treacherous commute “home.” [Read more →]
Mr. Ed Sayres
424 E. 92nd St
New York, NY 10128-6804
Dear Mr. Sayres:
On Friday – when heavy rain was forecast – the horses once again left the stables and were forced to work in miserable and dangerous conditions, which included extended periods of torrential rain with thunder and lightening.
The law clearly states that horses should not be worked in “heavy rain or other slippery conditions”, but the ASPCA agent on your HLE hotline told me that they were allowed to be out in these conditions. This is not a gray area – even our inadequate law states that the horses shouldn’t be out. Allowing the horses to work in these conditions is animal cruelty, and the ASPCA is responsible.
Here’s what I witnessed:
The horses stood for two hours in the cold, pounding rain with no opportunity to seek shelter. The horses did not have rain sheets or any other garment to protect them. Of course, most of the drivers took refuge in their covered carriages.
After a couple of hours of unrelenting rain, some of the carriage drivers left Central Park South to go back to the “stables” (a dangerous ride on wet, congested city streets during a thunderstorm):