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Spooked carriage horse off streets for a week

August 17, 2012 5:27:06 PM PDT
The carriage horse that took off with two tourists aboard and injuring its operator will rest for a week, until a veterinarian determines whether or not the horse can go back to work.

If "Oreo" the horse cannot go back to work he will be forced to retire. A number of people have already offered to give the horse a new home.

Something spooked the horse just as the operator climbed in the carriage on Thursday.

It caused the animal to take off running, putting the passengers and the operator in the hospital.

"The horse took off. All the way towards 10th Avenue," said Leon Zaid, a witness.

"It was very scary, I felt frightened for the people. It was very frightening, like boom, right out of the blue. I've never seen anything like it," said Deborah Stevenson, a witness.

The horse bolted from Columbus Circle on 60th, then down 9th, hitting a double parked livery car on Thursday.

Police and passenger-bys stopped him at 57th, the exact route the horse takes to get back to the Clinton Park Stables after a day's work.

As the split in two carriage was pulled off a flatbed, a worker confirmed the horse was checked out by his vet and by ASPCA investigators.

"He broke his leg. The horse is perfectly fine," the worker said.

This accident has sparked a 30-yaer-old debate between groups like the Horse and Carriage Association of New York City and NYCLASS, New Yorkers for Clean and Safe Livable Streets.

Should these animals be in busy and bustling New York City streets?

"It's the 12th accident this year. It's only a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured. The horse and buggy is from another time. It's time to put these horses out to pasture," a NYCLASS spokesperson said.

"To ban the horses and carriages is one side. The horses are adapted to New York City. We take very good care of these horses. We are one of the safest equestrian pursuits there is," said Christine Hanson, a spokesperson for the Horse and Carriage Association.

The Dept of Consumer Affairs, Health and ASPCA all oversee the horse carriage industry. Thursday's incident is under investigation.

LINK: VIEW PHOTOS FROM THE SCENE

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