Carriage horse drivers: Debate over Central Park horse rides gets physical

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The fight over New York’s controversial carriage horse rides  has long been bitter and heated on both sides.

But it is now getting physical, carriage horse drivers say.

Horse and Carriage Association President Stephen Malone, and Teamsters Local 553, which represents carriage drivers, said two drivers were attacked within 10 days this month.

During the first incident, prosecutors say that on Aug. 18, at around 3:20 p.m. at Central Park West and Sixth Avenue, Roxanne Delgado, 42, kicked the leg of driver Jesus Rojas.

She caused “an abrasion and redness” and “substantial pain,” according to court documents.

“She just snapped and kicked him,” Malone said.

Delgado’s attorney did not return a call for comment.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office confirmed Delgado has been charged with harassment and assault.

Malone described a separate incident where he said a man followed a driver Saturday night and punched him after a heated argument while the driver was helping customers get out of the carriage.
He said the driver punched back. 

A police spokesman confirmed the 9:10 p.m. alleged assault, saying the victim was punched several times in the head and body and was taken to the hospital.

Emin Karsavuran, 35, was charged with misdemeanor assault, police said.

Malone said both attacks were done by people who are opposed to the carriage horse rides, but other activists could not confirm that.

On Thursday morning, the Department of Consumer Affairs told Metro that Karsavuran is a licensed carriage driver.

Those against the carriage rides disagree

Elizabeth Forel, with the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, said that the drivers have a history of insulting protesters, who she said document animal abuses.

Scott Levenson, a spokesperson for New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets, which backs legislation that could replace carriages with electric cars, added, “For them to be pointing fingers at the protesters is absurd.”

He would not confirm whether Delgado had volunteered with the group, but added, “We don’t condone violence on animals or human beings at any time.”

Horse injured in accident heads upstate

Horse and Carriage Association President Stephen Malone spoke today at an event held to say goodbye to Oreo, a carriage horse who was spooked in an accident two weeks ago. He bolted, and the driver fell out of his seat and landed in the street. Oreo hit a car as the carriage fell apart and eventually dumped the passengers.

This morning, Oreo was loaded into a trailer, and as it rolled down 52nd Street past the Clinton Park Stables, onlookers shouted, “Bye, Oreo!”

Oreo headed to Blue Star Equiculture, a draft horse sanctuary in Palmer, Massachusetts, where he’ll join 30 other horse, including other former draft horses.

Malone’s former carriage horse, Paddy — named for being bought on St. Patrick’s Day — also retired there after 12 years on the job.



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