The results of a preliminary necropsy on a carriage horse named Charlie who collapsed and died in Midtown last Sunday show, "Charlie was not a healthy horse." According to the ASPCA, who performed the necropsy at Cornell, Charlie's cause of death is still uncertain, but he "was likely suffering from pain due to pronounced chronic ulceration of the stomach and a fractured tooth." Dr. Pamela Corey of the ASPCA says in a release, "We are very concerned that Charlie was forced to work in spite of painful maladies."
While the horse's past is still unknown, he had only been working as a carriage horse for a few weeks. Corey notes that many carriage horses come from "unmechanized farms where they are not treated with 21st century medications" and have to be treated for maladies before working. It may have been difficult for the carriage operator to tell if the horse was injured because "draft horses are by nature a stoic breed, not displaying signs of pain until they are very severe."
Last week, Mayor Bloomberg said at a press conference that the carriage horses "probably wouldn't be alive if they didn't have a job," and that the carriage horse industry is "part of New York's heritage...that tourists love." Mary Culpepper of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages disputes this. "We are baffled as to why Bloomberg caters to this small, cash-only industry from which the city derives not a penny of direct revenue…For the city to protect this inherently inhumane, dangerous, and outdated industry is both misguided and embarrassing."
State Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal called for an investigation to determine whether there was criminal neglect in Charlie's case. "He should not have been on the road, dragging a carriage behind him. He should have been convalescing under proper veterinary care," she said in a release. "Someone clearly dropped the ball here, and I intend to figure out who it was."