Startled carriage horse goes on solo Central Park run, hits cab

Pumpkin the horse dragged a carriage around Central Park and hit a cab on Monday, June 9, 2014. Teamsters/CBS New York

NEW YORK -- A startled carriage horse took a jaunt around Central Park without any passengers or its driver.

CBS New York reported that around 5:45 p.m. Monday, the carriage horse, named Pumpkin, broke out of its bridle and started running with the carriage through Central Park, according to the union that represents carriage drivers. It was unclear what startled it.

It looped back around to basically where it had started and exited the park at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, near The Plaza hotel, where a group of carriage drivers was waiting to corral it. Its carriage got caught on an open taxi door, and it came to a stop.

There were no injuries to the horse or to any people, carriage driver and industry spokesman Stephen Malone said.

Advocacy agency NYCLASS, which is seeking to end the carriage horse industry, released a statement saying carriage horses and city streets don't mix.

"It's time to retire the carriage horses and replace them with something that doesn't spook or dart dangerously through traffic and pedestrians," it said.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals echoed NYCLASS' sentiment in a statement, CBS New York reported.

"A horse running loose in Manhattan traffic is the epitome of an accident waiting to happen. That there wasn't more serious harm -- to the horse, innocent bystanders or property -- is nothing other than simple good luck. The safety of New Yorkers should not depend on mere chance, and this incident underscores the need for an end to carriage horse operations in the city," the ASPCA said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to ban the horse-drawn carriages and replace them with vintage-looking electric cars. But he may not have enough votes in the City Council to pass a law.

"The Biggest Loser" trainer Jillian Michaels, former "30 Rock" star Alec Baldwin and "Raise Your Glass" singer Pink also support a carriage horse ban.

"Taken" actor Liam Neeson is among those campaigning to keep the colorful coaches. He says operators treat their horses well and the industry provides 400 jobs.

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