A New York carriage horse ran amok in the city on Monday (9 June) after escaping from its carriage.
The New York Daily News (NYDN) reported that the animal, a 6-year-old Belgian draft horse called Pumpkin, slipped free from its bridle and galloped up Sixth Avenue and through Central Park.
“[The bridle] just fell off. As soon as he knew it wasn’t there, he just took off,” the driver Ata Ak, 27, told the NYDN.
After circumnavigating the park and running out onto the streets, the horse was finally stopped after it crashed into a taxi.
In response to this latest incident, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals (ASPCA) is making further calls to end to what it describes as the “unnatural and unnecessary” practice of carriage driving.
“A horse running loose in Manhattan traffic is the epitome of an accident waiting to happen,” said a spokesman. “That there wasn’t more serious harm — to the horse, innocent bystanders or property — is nothing other than simple good luck.
“The safety of New Yorkers should not depend on mere chance, and this incident underscores the need for an end to carriage horse operations in the city.”
Should the practice come to an end, the ASPCA has pledged to “find and facilitate humane retirement options for any horse in need of a home”.
Carriage driving operations in Central Park began in 1858 and tours around the park remain a popular tourist attraction.
The uncertain future of New York’s carriage horses had a temporary reprieve in April this year, after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he is shelving his intention to ban horse-drawn carriages.
Mayor de Blasio had promised in his campaign to put an end to the industry as soon as he took office in January, but delayed that until the end of the year.
The city council is still discussing legislation to ban carriage horses, but several members oppose the idea as it will take away around 300-400 jobs.