Since New York City’s stifling heat wave began in late June, carriage horses have been suspended and sent back to their stables 23 times: six in June and 17, thus far, in July.
According to the New York City Administrative Code, carriage horses must stop working and be allowed to rest in their stables when the temperature reaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit. As the de facto enforcer of New York City’s carriage horse laws, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents have been on hand to make sure carriage horse operations ceased and that the horses were safe.
“Temperatures at that level only compound the already difficult job performed by carriage horses,” says Joseph Pentangelo, Assistant Director of ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement. “Ideally, we would like to see this industry leave New York City entirely—but until then, ASPCA Agents will continue to make sure that the carriage horses are well cared for.”
The 90-degree threshold is a strict measure of air temperature alone. The law does not take into account humidity or the extreme heat that radiates off the city’s black asphalt streets onto horses’ legs and stomachs.
The ASPCA believes that our city’s unique environment is incapable of ensuring that horses and their human passengers stay healthy and safe, and we have been fighting to get the horses off our noisy, congested streets. To learn more about the fundamental cruelty of New York City’s carriage horse industry—and to see proposed humane alternatives and solutions—please visit our partner agency, NYCLASS.