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New York City carriage horses work in shoddy conditions: audit
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10:51, September 07, 2007

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Horses that pull passengers on carriage rides through Central Park in New York City work without enough water, shade or oversight from authorities, local media quoted a city audit as saying Thursday.

City Comptroller William Thompson's audit found city agencies have not kept up with required veterinary checks and carriage inspections, and the horses contend with sometimes shoddy conditions.

The audit, issued Wednesday, marked the first time the comptroller's office scrutinized the city's monitoring of the carriage horse industry, which has long drawn complaints from animal rights advocates.

The complaints intensified last year after Juliet, a horse that spent 17 years taking visitors through the park, collapsed in front of a crowd of onlookers and died hours later.

The city has some 221 licensed horses, 293 drivers and 68 carriages offering horse-drawn rides.

The carriages often wait for passengers along Central Park South, where there are not adequate water spigots, shade or drains for horse waste, the audit found.

The city Department of Consumer Affairs is in charge of licensing drivers and carriages, while the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene regulates the horses and stables.

The agencies generally comply with city regulations, but efforts to enforce them are spotty, the audit found.

Health department veterinarians did not examine horses at any point between July 2005 and March 2007, according to the report. During that period, Consumer Affairs Department inspectors checked every carriage twice a year, instead of the required three, the report said.

Source: Xinhua

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