An exhausted carriage horse collapsed during the evening rush hour in New York City on Wednesday, lying on the road as his driver repeatedly punched him and ordered him to “get up.”
The animal’s knees buckle in video footage as the rider pulls on the reins and slaps the horse in an attempt to stop it.
“Get up! Get up! Get up! Come on, get up,” the frustrated driver ordered as traffic backed up onto the busy avenue around 5:00 p.m. local time. New York Post reported.
Bystanders were disturbed by the flogging.
“What if I slap you like that, bro?” a concerned bystander asked.
“Stop hitting him,” heard another woman plead.
“I’m trying to get him to his feet, okay,” the driver said, beating the horse twice with the reins.
The dejected horse then lay on its side and rested its head on the street as the driver removed his carriage with the help of a pedestrian.
A group of police officers then arrived and were filmed dousing the horse with water and eventually getting him up and running after more than an hour, according to video and witnesses.
The NYPD mounted unit then transported the animal to an unknown location for treatment, police said.
The incident shocked witnesses and lawyers and came after a brutal prolonged heat wave that finally erupted on Wednesday.
“I saw the horse collapse. He was clearly malnourished, dehydrated, hungry. The man started beating his horse and telling him to get back up instead of giving him water,” Uber Eats driver Kelvin Gonzalez, 25, told the newspaper. After.
“I said to him, ‘Yo, stop hitting him, give him some water. That’s a horse, not a machine.’
“It’s really sad, man. You can see that the horse has not been taken care of. You can see he exploited that horse. The horse was hungry, he was thirsty. You can see that the horse collapsed from thirst.”
The horse “tried to get up as many as 10 times and it kept collapsing,” before police “put adrenaline up his ass,” Gonzalez said.
“He hit the water down because he was so disoriented. He was out. He licked the water off the floor because he was so thirsty. The [driver] didn’t matter. He didn’t care. He just wanted to get his horse back on its feet so he can make more money,” the witness claimed.
Another witness told the After the horse was bleeding from the knee and a tourist at the scene said she thought the horse was suffering from heat exhaustion.
“I told them not to try to push the horse up. It’s like someone waiting for you and making sure they get over it,” said Cathy Garfield, 75, who noted that she had grown up with horses.
“He was afraid to take the bride off the horse because he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to control it once it got up. He knew nothing about horses,’ she said of the driver.
“It tried to drink water but still had the bit in its mouth. I was able to convince the driver to remove the bit from the bridle. He tried to drink water. It’s hard when you have a big piece of metal in your mouth,” she said.
Proponents said the animal passed out on the street for more than an hour without veterinary care.
“How many more incidents like this do we need? This is clearly animal cruelty and it must be stopped,” New Yorkers for Clean, Liveable, and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) director Edita Birnkrant said in a statement.
Nathan Semmel, 52, an advocate for Animal Rights Voters, agreed with NYCLASS that city politicians should replace horse-drawn carriages with electronic vehicles, a proposal currently under consideration in the city council.
“It’s time we replaced horses with modern technology,” he told the… After.
“The city can offer better benefits to the horses and drivers. These horses have been suffering for years. There’s nothing romantic about seeing a horse on the ground fighting for its life.”
The chairman of a local Transport Workers Union said he believed the horse also suffered from the neurological disease EPM, caused by opossum feces.
Support for the proposal accelerated after images of horses collapsing and running into cars went viral.
However, many are not in favor of a complete ban on the tourist-friendly industry that employs about 200 people throughout the city.
“New York City can and should lead. The world is watching,” Birnkrant said.
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and is reproduced with permission