Horse Drawn Carriages: Threat to Public Safety & Horse Safety

On October 29, NYCLASS, ), and The Animal Legal Defense Fund, (Aldf).org, stood on the steps of City Hall to release newly obtained records of carriage horse accidents from the NYPD. These records reveal in detail that there are have been at least 25 accidents between horse drawn carriages and other vehicles — all which were previously unknown to the public. At least a dozen of these accidents involved hit and runs at the reins of the carriage drivers. Drivers of other vehicles hit either the carriage or the horse causing damage or injury. There are reports of horse drawn carriages hitting other vehicles and the driver ran off with the horse drawn carriage. This is a public safety issue as well as a horse safety issue. After reading these reports it is even clearer in my mind that action has to be taken to remove horse drawn carriage from the unsafe streets of New York City. This is a safety issue.

Here are a few highlights from the NYPD’s carriage horse accident reports:

September 4, 2013 “Unknown horse and carriage driver sideswiped car’s ride side of 76 year old woman, and then fled the scene.”

June 15, 2012 “victim involved in motor vehicle accident w/carriage; carriage driver refused info and fled the scene”

April 1, 2010 ” While victim was unloading packages from his parked vehicle a carriage struck his vehicle causing damage. Horse hair was observed on damaged area. He alerted carriage driver to damage on his vehicle, carriage driver left scene.”

October 23, 2009 ” While riding in a horse carriage, a child fell off and was “rolled over by wheel of carriage.” Child “suffered injuries to stomach, chest and head,” and was taken to NY Presbyterian hospital.”

October 21, 2009: “…carriage collided with victim who was driving his car; while vehicle driver was trying to identify witnesses carriage driver fled the scene.

“Keeping carriage horses on the streets of New York isn’t safe for anybody” said Chris Green, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Animal Defense Fund”

Speaking in front of City Hall, Allie Feldman, Executive Director of NYCLASS said, “There is no number of accidents that is acceptable. There is no reason in the year 2014 that we should be seeing horses getting hit by taxis.” There is also no reason why people in other vehicles who be subject to hit and runs by horse drawn carriages.

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, chairman of the Council transportation committee, attended the event and said he wanted to see “a society where we see animal rights as the same and equal to human rights.” He also said horse-drawn carriages should not be on New York City streets.

Mayor de Blasio has stood firm on his commitment to phase out the horse drawn carriages. It is up to the New York City Council to act. It is hoped that legislation will be introduced in the City Council by the end of this year as promised. This legislation should meet the concerns of the tourists, horse drawn carriage drivers and most of all safeguard horses from a hostile 2014 New York City environment. A compromise is called for at this time. A compromise to protect all residents of New York City: non-human and human. This most inhumane practice and danger to so many must end.

To see the NYPD reports, please visit

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