Central Park Carriage Horse
Central Park Carriage Horse commons.wikimedia.org

A carriage horse in Central Park that died on the job last week was not exactly in pristine health. The horse, known as Charlie, suffered from severe stomach ulcers and other medical issues according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The ASPCA, which performed the autopsy at Cornell University, determined that Charlie was probably in pain during its last few weeks of life.

While the cause of death is still open and is likely to be inconclusive, pending a microscopic analysis of the tissues, the gross necropsy report indicates that Charlie was not a healthy horse and was likely suffering from pain due to pronounced chronic ulceration of the stomach and a fractured tooth, according to a press release by the ASPCA.

Charlie died on Oct. 23, at Eight Avenue and 54th Street as he was headed toward Central Park.

We are very concerned that Charlie was forced to work in spite of painful maladies, said Dr. Pamela Corey of the ASPCA, according to The New York Post.

Along with his sever ulcers, the 15-year-old Charlie also had a fractured tooth. However, little is known about his life before he came to New York City. It is believed he had spent some time on a farm. Dr. Corey admitted that they have seen horses who after spending time away come back in worse condition.

Charlie's death renewed calls for the Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other city lawmakers to abolish the practice of carriage horses in New York. Mayor Bloomberg, however, maintained his position that carriage horses in the city are well

We are very careful to make sure that they're well taken care of, said Mayor Bloomberg. If you see them on the streets, they are in great shape, and I don't know what makes a horse happy or not.

Little veterinary oversight is required for these carriage horses. Generally, the horses are inspected twice yearly, however, there are no guidelines in place that mandate checkups. There are also no mandates that required horses to receive checkups once they return from a furlough on a farm, like Charlie.

The ASPCA believes that carriage horses were never meant to live and work in today's urban setting. Neither the New York City environment nor the current law can provide horses with the fundamental necessities to ensure their safety and well being, said the ASPCA in their press release.