NYC Horse Carriage Driver Accused of Switching Horses

A horse carriage driver has been accused of altering the hoof identification of his asthmatic 22 year old horse to make it appear to be a healthier horse.

Frank Lou is accused of altering a hoof brand to make a 22 year old draft horse with a breathing ailment appear to be a healthier, 12 year old horse. Photo c/o New York Daily News

According to The Associated Press, carriage driver Frank Lou branded his 22 year old horse, named Ceasar, with the wrong hoof identification number so that he could work under the license of a 12 year old horse named Carsen. This comes from a written report by city health officials that states, “physical characteristics and medical condition was that of the older horse.” after a city vet noticed in late January that Ceasar has Carsen’s hoof identification number. City officials also explained that Ceasar had a chronic condition called “heaves” that is similar to asthma. At the time of the report, Ceasar was supposed to be resting on a Pennsylvania farm.

Lou, insisting that the horse was Carsen, did submit paperwork that included a handwritten note from the Pennsylvania farmer who said that Ceasar has been on his farm for months. “I did not switch the horses. It’s just very confusing because they look alike.” Lou told reporters.

After the city requested more proof and for a veterinarian to evaluate the horse, Lou sold the horse claiming that he could not afford to have the horse not working. By selling the horse, the investigation by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene was ended, however, the Department of Consumer Affairs is still investigating.

Teamsters Local 553’s Demos Demopoulos told the New York Daily News, “I was shocked to hear of the accusations against Frank Luo. The Teamsters and New York carriages drivers are professionals who put the welfare of horses first. The Teamsters fought for the strong regulations we have in place, to protect the horses in our industry. What we saw today is that the system worked.” He went on to say that, “If the accusations are proved true, he should be punished to the full extent of the law,”

This is not the first time that drivers have been accused of falsifying horse identifications and licenses. In 2007, an audit by the city comptroller found that 42% of health certificates for horses in 2005 and 2006 had conflicting physical characteristics including name, breed, age, color, and sex, but the same license numbers.


A protester questioning where Chris, a horse driven by Frank Lou, is after an accident last year

Additionally, this is not the first time Frank Lou has been in trouble with the law either. In July, Lou was accused of working Ceasar for nine days when the horse was supposedly in Pennsylvania and in September he was cited with operating a carriage for more than 12 hours in a 20-hour period. Then again in September, he was cited for working two horses without licenses as well as Department of Consumer Affairs for overcharging customers.

In an unrelated event, one of Lou’s horses was involved in an accident. Last September a horse named Chris who, after becoming spooked, bolted and hit a car before becoming entrapped underneath his own carriage.

Featured Image credit: Marcus Santos/New York Daily News

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