An official necropsy performed on Charlie, the 15-year-old draft horse that collapsed and died in Midtown in October, showed no direct cause of death. According to the ASPCA, which performed the necropsy at Cornell, Charlie's liver showed signs of scarring, and the agency wrote they "cannot rule out recent toxin exposure, abnormal heartbeat or allergic reaction," but that the horse was in "good nutritional condition," when he died.
Initially, veterinarian Dr. Pamela Corey of the ASPCA concluded in a preliminary necropsy that "Charlie was not a healthy horse," and that he was working with a stomach ulcer and a cracked tooth. But several days later, Dr. Corey, who is the ASPCA's head equine veterinarian, retracted those statements, claiming she was under "intense pressure" when writing the press release.
In a bizarre series of events that alludes to the political sensitivity of carriage horses, she was suspended without pay before filing a complaint against the ASPCA and the attorney general's office.
"We said all along that Charlie was in good health while he was operating a carriage in Central Park," a spokesman for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York City tells DNAinfo. Though Corey's amended release noted that the first release "does not imply that the carriage horse driver would be able to observe pain or ill health," Corey's initial release also stated: "draft horses are by nature a stoic breed, not displaying signs of pain until they are very severe."