Monday, December 24, 2007

Carriage-Horse Accidents: Town and Country

Photos used courtesy of Shining Light Ministries, Texas (February 2008)

Public safety is a concern whenever carriage horses are deployed onto city streets. In New York City, at least six people have been hospitalized and three horses have died as a result of carriage horse accidents since 2006. An animal weighing 1,500 pounds or more becomes dangerous to itself and anything in its path when spooked. Consider what happened in September 2007, when the mare Smoothie panicked and died on a sidewalk just south of Central Park. As if that weren't tragic enough, another horse got startled by the commotion and ran over the top of a Mercedes-Benz with two passengers in it; the car was severely damaged but the passengers were not injured. In 2006, two occupants of a station wagon were injured when a horse ran into the vehicle in midtown Manhattan. The horse broke a shoulder and a leg and was euthanized.

The list of carriage-horse accidents in New York City is long. Smaller cities and towns with horse-drawn carriages also have their share of accidents. In December 2007 alone, carriage horses have been involved in accidents in St. Augustine, Florida; Thomasville, Georgia; Alton, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; Ontario, Canada; and Tucson, Arizona, Aiken, S.C., and Farmington, Pa., to name a few. In Carlsbad, Mexico, two carriage horses were injured in a dog attack.

Horse-drawn carriages don't belong in traffic, anywhere. Putting a horse into traffic not only endangers the horse, but compromises public safety.

Update: Thankfully, in February, 2008, Shining Light Ministries in Alton, Texas reported that the injured minister has recovered from his serious injuries that he suffered in the December accident. He required numerous operations. The horses (shown in the photos) trampled the man after one of them was apparently spooked by an ATV. I did not see a report on injuries suffered by the horses; however, in the 2nd photo, one horse is seen with a leg bent onto the hood of the vehicle and the other is seen standing.

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