Around 8:30 a.m. yesterday, a carriage horse collapsed and died on West 54th Street between Eighth & Ninth Avenues, across from the Midtown North Precinct. Despite the horse being loaded into a NYPD vehicle, the department's District Command Public Information repeatedly denied having any information on the incident. A representative from Mayor Bloomberg's office had no comment, and referred us back to the NYPD. The ASPCA, who is conducting the investigation, tells us that the results of the necropsy on the horse should be available tomorrow morning.

"I think this is standard practice for them," said Elizabeth Forel of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages. "They just don't take these things seriously. I think it's very important to know what happened to this horse." Over the years the city has attempted to balance tourism revenue brought in by carriage rides through Central Park with the well-being of the horses.

Carriage horses have been seen operating illegally during a weather emergency, drinking from filthy puddles of water due to a lack of clean troughs, and endure periodic carriage crashes. Forel notes that the ASPCA typically performs the necropsy on horses that die on the job and said that the process isn't transparent enough.

"The ASPCA is essentially performing the work of a government agency," she said, pointing to a case last November in which a carriage horse was struck by a MTA bus and the ASPCA, who is not subject to FOIL, conducted an investigation. "To my knowledge they never released the results of that investigation," and said that the Department of Consumer Affairs is undergoing their own inquiry.

NYCLASS is calling for the Department of Health to get involved, and Forel is also asking that the horse's death be investigated. A spokesman for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York told the Daily News, "It's a tragedy. It's not something that happens regularly…Our horses are taken care of."