Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rules for carriage horses in NYC

Another long hot summer, another season when their "jobs" must have taken a terrible toll on carriage horses in New York City. A Q & A column in the NYTimes last month spelled out what to do if you witness animal cruelty toward a carriage horse or any animal in NY.

Report it to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Humane Law Enforcement dept. at 212-876-7700, ext. 4450, or The ASPCA handles these complaints for the city's health dept., whose rules for carriage horses include . . .

1. If the air temp is 90 degrees F or the wet bulb temp ( a humidity indicator) is 85 degrees, drivers must stop working horses and make sure they're cooled off and walked to the stable.

2. In the winter months, they must be covered with blankets while awaiting passengers. (no mention of temperature)

3. Horses must be given at least 15 minutes rest for every two working hours, and cannot be driven faster than at a trot.

4. They must not be worked more than 9 hours in any continuous 24-hour period or during "adverse weather" including snow, ice, heavy rain or other slippery conditions.

5. A veterinarian's exam is required every eight months.

Probably the most laughable rule is the recent City Council requirement at least five weeks' vacation for each horse every 12 months, at a stable allowing access to a paddock or pasture.

Well, all these rules are on the books anyway. And once in a while, one or two of them may even be enforced. Meanwhile, the poor horses plod on.

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