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Activists Renew Calls To Ban Horse-Drawn Vehicles In NYC Following Yet Another Collapse

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A horse collapsed while pulling a carriage at the intersection of 60th Street and Broadway on Friday, right in the middle of the evening commute.

According to the ASPCA, the horse was suspended pending a veterinary exam and won't return to work until the exam is completed.

It was the second horse to collapse in the street in two weeks. Last week a spooked horse crashed outside Central Park. Animal advocates say enough is enough.

"Yet again it's another illustration of why these horses do not belong on the streets of New York City," said Carly Knudson of New Yorkers for Clean and Livable Safe Streets.

However, a spokesperson for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York e-mailed CBS 2 early Saturday morning disputing the claim that the horse had collapsed, saying: "This horse did not 'collapse.' All horses were suspended from working most of this week due to storm damage in Central Park. The combination of the long period with no work and the cold snap led to this horse exhibiting normal, frisky horse behavior by bucking. A hind leg tangled with the shaft of the carriage, the horse fell, and stayed down calmly while people unhooked him from the carriage. He was walked back to his stable under his own power, without further incident."

Last month, 15-year-old draft horse "Charlie" dropped dead as he pulled a carriage to work at Central Park. A necropsy revealed he had several ailments, including a fractured tooth and a chronic stomach ulcer.

"Some of these horses have underlying health conditions that are not being noticed or picked up in the mandatory Department of Health fact checks," Knudson said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a long-time supporter of the horse and carriage trade, what he called a major source of tourism revenue. He's not wavered from his position to keep the horses on the street.

"Most of them probably wouldn't be alive if they didn't have a job," Bloomberg said recently.

State Sen. Tony Avella, however, has sponsored legislation to ban the horse and buggy rides.

"I challenge the Mayor and Speaker Quinn now to end this practice because shame on them if they continue to allow this to go on," he said.

Infuriated by the latest incident, Avella asked how many more accidents need to happen before the practice is stopped.

"How long are we going to continue to have the cruelty to the animals, horses dropping dead in Midtown traffic? Plus the danger to pedestrians and motorists?" Avella said.

Should horse-drawn carriages be banned in New York City? Sound off in our comments section below...

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