The New York City Police Department’s Animal Abuse Squad is investigating the recent death of a carriage horse in Central Park after a video of the fatal February 29th incident was made public online.
Posted by animal rights advocacy group NYCLASS, the video shows the 12-year old carriage horse — named Aisha — repeatedly falling, unable to use her back legs.
A separate video posted Sunday shows several people who appear to be trying to get the horse into a trailer, but the horse keeps collapsing. That tweet, also from NYCLASS, accuses the people near the horse of blowing smoke in Aisha’s face and brutalizing her.
Christina Hansen, a spokeswoman for Historic Horse-Drawn Carriages of Central Park, which represents the city’s horse-drawn carriages, confirmed to CNN that the horse was euthanized Sunday evening, a day after the incident — which she called an “acute medical emergency.”
The horse showed sudden signs of distress Saturday afternoon after completing one ride. The vet and the emergency horse trailer were called immediately, Hansen said, before the horse’s condition deteriorated and it collapsed.
“Unfortunately, she was never able to stand, apparently due to cardiac insufficiency in her hind end, and her owner, in consultation with the vet, made the difficult but humane decision to put her to sleep,” Hansen said in the statement.
Advocates and other witnesses tell a different story, claiming the horse was recklessly tied up and shoved into the trailer instead of being checked-out by a vet at the scene.
The video caught the attention of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who called the videos “painful” in a Sunday, March 1 tweet:
“We’ve made real progress in animal welfare but we must go further. The NYPD’s Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad is on the case and WILL get answers,” he wrote.
The mayor again tweeted about the situation Monday.
“Watching video of the dying carriage horse again, disgusted this is happening in our city,” he said. “Why are these poor animals still being forced to work on the streets of America’s largest city so a few humans can profit? This needs to end. When laws condone the inhumane, change them!”
NYPD Detective Annette Shelton told CNN, “The NYPD’s Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad is investigating this incident and we are awaiting the results of the necropsy.”
Vigil for Aisha
NYCLASS held a massive Candlelight Vigil Thursday, March 5 at 6pm, at 59th St near Fifth Avenue and Grand Army Plaza to mourn Aisha. There was a stirring musical performance dedicated to the fallen carriage horse with footage displayed on multiple TV screens showing her heartbreaking struggles.
Let’s keep the momentum going on behalf of Aisha and other horses like her.
NYC RESIDENTS: Call your NYC Council Member to express your outrage over Aisha’s mistreatment and death, and urge them to support efforts to end this constant, intolerable carriage horse abuse.
If you live outside of NYC, call Mayor Bill de Blasio at 212.788.3000 and politely urge him to continue working toward a complete end of carriage horse abuse — for good.