“I was walking home and saw police racing by — and could tell something was up,” said Hell’s Kitchen local Paul Devlin. “There was a horse lying on the ground — the carriage was a few feet back and it didn’t look like it had been hit. By the time I got there, an officer from the NYPD Mounted Unit was already there,” he added. “The officers then shut down the block.”
Witnesses said the Mounted Unit officer cared for the horse, a 14-year-old known as Ryder — hosing the animal down and cooling it off with ice procured from local restaurants — as onlookers shouted advice from the sidewalk. The distraught horse carriage driver checked on his animal but ceded control of its care to the officers on hand. Devlin added that officers found a pillow to keep the horse comfortable.
“A vet arrived on the scene, and I heard him say, ‘We’ll have to tie his legs and winch him into the trailer’,” said Devlin, who added, “the horse must have heard this, because he got up after that. They led him into the trailer and took him away.” Devlin added that the horse carriage driver appeared to “bless himself” near the horse before taking the carriage away himself, with the nearby crowd chanting “How does it feel?!”
New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) — an advocacy group against horse carriages — has already responded to the incident, demanding that the City Council move to ban the practice.
Queens council member Robert Holden has introduced legislation proposing to replace horse-drawn carriages with electric vehicles by June of 2024. District 3 City Council Member Erik Bottcher, in conjunction with Joann Ariola (Queens), Tiffany Caban (Queens), Shahana Hanif (Brooklyn), Kristen Richardson Jordan (Manhattan), Rita Joseph (Brooklyn), Christopher Marte (Manhattan), Chi Osse (Brooklyn) and Keith Powers (Manhattan) have signed onto the bill.
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