A New York carriage horse was dropped with a tranquilizer gun after running amok in Columbus Circle on Thursday.
The horse, a six-year-old draft gelding named Oreo, ran into heavy traffic on Columbus Circle and dumped his driver and two passengers, reportedly Australian tourists. Oreo collided with two cars before managing to break free from his badly damaged carriage, in which there were two occupants.
Oreo ran four blocks before the shot from a police tranquilizer gun ended the incident.
The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages renewed its call for New York to end the horse-drawn carriage trade following the accident.
In response, it organised an “emergency protest” for Saturday at 1pm at the hack line, in the north-west corner of Central Park South and Fifth Avenue.
The coalition said there had been 13 accidents or incidents involving New York horse-drawn carriages since June last year, many of them due to the horse spooking.
Most of them came to attention only through “citizen journalists” or random eye witnesses, it said.
“So far, New York City has been lucky since no-one has died in a horse-drawn carriage accident – yet,” coalition president Elizabeth Forel said.
“This has not been the case in other cities. In 2010, a passenger in a carriage participating in a parade in Iowa died from her injuries when she was thrown from the carriage after the horse spooked. Another woman – a bystander – was killed in Salzburg, Austria, when a spooked horse plowed into her.
“It could happen here because conditions are ripe for it. The horses are accidents waiting to happen.”
New York City is too congested for horse carriages or electric cars, Forel said.
The New York Times reported that three people were injured in the incident involving Oreo.
Oreo is reported to have escaped with minor injuries.
Once the effects of the tranquilizer wore off, Oreo stood up and was led into a truck for removal.