Animal rights activists say a carriage horse that dropped dead on a Midtown street suffered from neglect, dying in pain on the concrete.
Charlie, a 15-year-old draft horse, collapsed on his way to work in Central Park Oct. 23. A necropsy performed at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine showed the horse had stomach ulcers and a fractured tooth, ASPCA officials revealed yesterday.
Charlie was not a healthy horse, said Dr. Pamela Corey, director of the equine veterinary services for the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department.
“We are very concerned that Charlie was forced to work in spite of painful maladies,” Corey said.
He had only been working as a carriage horse for a few weeks, according to the ASPCA.
“It sounds like a case of neglect,” said Elizabeth Forel, president of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages.
Only three hours after animal groups held a mournful, candlelit vigil for Charlie on Friday, shocked tourists from North Carolina reported seeing a different horse get spooked and bolt into traffic on Central Park South, according to Forel.
The horse ran up and down the street, dragging his empty carriage behind him, before crashing on Seventh Avenue. Forel did not know if he was injured in the incident.
The city Department of Health requires the city’s carriage horses be examined twice a year.
Charlie received a clean bill of health in June, a DOH spokeswoman said, adding that the Cornell report was preliminary only, and the city saw no indications of ulcers or “severe pain.”
And Mayor Michael Bloomberg showed little empathy yesterday for Charlie.
“Like everyone, eventually they die,” Bloomberg said of horses when asked about the death. “Some die on the streets.”
Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.