Carriage horse Ryder is quietly out of New York for veterinary care, dog handlers won’t say where he is

Ryder, the carriage horse whose collapse in the middle of a Hell’s Kitchen street reignited calls to ban the controversial industry from Manhattan, has been quietly removed from New York for veterinary care, his handlers have confirmed .

A spokesperson for Transport Workers Union Local 100 – which represents horse-drawn carriage drivers – confirmed to amNewYork Metro that the 14-year-old courier was taken out of town to a “professional horse farm” to be being treated for what they say is a nasty case of equine protozoan myeloencephalitis (EPM), a neurological condition caused by opossum droppings in food.

Driver reps say EPM was the cause of Ryder’s dramatic collapse last week on the 9th Avenue and 45th Street roadway, not exhaustion or malnutrition as claims anti-car activists.

The spokesperson said Ryder was moved out of town but remained in New York State. They gave no further details for fear that activists would descend on the farm.

“They don’t want the location made public for fear of caregivers being harassed or threatened by anti-body people who are known to shed fake blood and do crazy stuff like that,” the spokesperson said. TWU, Pete Donohue, in an email. .

NYPD officers chill Ryder after he collapses in Midtown. August 10.Screenshot from NYCLASS Twitter

Christina Hansen, a carriage driver and shop steward at TWU, said Ryder was taking some rest at a “holiday farm” while he received his regimen of EPM medication. She says the majestic horse couldn’t get help at his New York stables because his vet ordered him not to use ramps and he couldn’t stand on the ground floor of the stable where the cars are parked, as EPM can cause weight. muscle loss and decline.

Ryder collapsed in the street while pulling a car driven by his driver, Ian McKeever, on August 10, and lay on the hot asphalt for an hour as NYPD officers hosed him down to try to refresh it. The Incident, captured on viral videotook place just after a heat wave lasting several days.

Industry representatives were quick to state publicly that Ryder suffered from EPM. But anti-carriage advocates were quick to claim the footage was proof that Ryder was being abused and neglected by his handlers. Their case was bolstered by photos published by the New York Post showing Ryder in his stable after the incident, looking disturbingly thin and gaunt, as well as a video also published by the Post showing McKeever asking Ryder to stand up. lift and even whip him right after he collapsed, even as onlookers begged him to let the horse rest.

Hansen says McKeever was following industry protocol, but the anti-bodywork group New Yorkers for Clean, Safe, and Livable Streets (NYCLASS) released a citation from the Department of Health on Wednesday denying that the agency’s training for carriage drivers includes any whipping or flogging. Department of Health spokesman Michael Lanza confirmed the authenticity of the quote. The Department of Health is investigating the matter, but Lanza has not confirmed Hansen’s claim that the agency facilitated Ryder’s move by TWU.

Activists joined Queens Councilman Bob Holden at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday, imploring District Attorney Alvin Bragg to open a criminal animal cruelty investigation against McKeever. One of the speakers at the rally, Caroline Smidt, claimed she saw Ryder in Central Park just hours before he collapsed in Central Park, where his apparent malnutrition worried her so much that she took pictures of him. equine as McKeever allegedly yelled and cursed at him to keep moving.

“He was walking with his tongue out and he looked malnourished, his ribs were showing – that horse was obviously in pain,” Smidt said at the rally. “My heart broke. And I couldn’t believe the injustice and cruelty that was put before me.

Queen’s Counsel Bob Holden, lead sponsor of the bill to ban horse-drawn carriages, asks DA Bragg to open a criminal investigation against Ryder’s driver.Photo by Dean Moses

Allie Taylor, president of Voters for Animal Rights, told amNewYork Metro in an interview that Ryder has become a cause celebre for banning horse-drawn carriages in the city in a way she has never seen before.

“I’ve never seen the level of outrage and action around carriage horses in 11 years. This accident is different,” Taylor said. “It’s a rallying cry. People are tired of spineless politicians just waiting for animal rights activists to calm down in a few days. That’s it, we’re not leaving. »

Voters for Animal Rights and other animal rights groups are pushing for City Council to pass Holden’s bill, Intro 573-2022, which would ban horse-drawn carriages in all five boroughs by 2024 and replace them with horseless electric carriages powered by pedals and steering wheels. Taylor said the bill brought in four new co-sponsors this week, but as with similar bills in the past, the measure is being fiercely opposed by industry and the politically powerful TWU.

While she sees reason to be politically optimistic, Taylor said she is concerned for Ryder’s health and safety in TWU custody. Another prominent activist, NYCLASS’s Edita Birnkrant, said last week that she fears Ryder is being sold to people who intend to shoot him.

A protester holds a sign that reads ‘Hasn’t this poor horse suffered enough?Photo by Dean Moses

Taylor said she and the anti-car activist community do not trust drivers to prioritize Ryder’s health over transportation industry profits, nor do they believe he was taken to a safe place. She said her organization had been inundated with offers to help relocate Ryder to an animal sanctuary that the drivers had refused to accept.

“They know if he goes to a reputable animal sanctuary that actually cares for horses…they’re going to expose what happened to Ryder before the accident,” Taylor said.

Hansen, who has long pushed back against activists’ claims that carriage horses are treated with nothing less than the utmost love and kindness, confirmed that there have been many offers to relocate Ryder but that those – these would not be taken into account while undergoing EPM treatment.

“We’ve been inundated with nursing home offers for Ryder, but obviously he can’t be placed while he’s still undergoing treatment for EPM,” Hansen said. “A decision cannot be made without assessing his long-term needs and verifying the ability of these homes to care for him properly.”

Taylor said activists also don’t trust industry-hired vets to be forthright in their diagnosis of Ryder’s disease, and tried unsuccessfully to convince his handlers to allow independent vets to examine horse. Hansen confirmed that Dr. Camilo Sierra, a longtime veterinarian, answered the emergency call for Ryder last week.

In 2018, Sierra was suspended from veterinary practice and fined $4,500 by the New York State Gaming Commission for misadministering the bronchodilator drug Albuterol to a horse at Aqueduct Racetrack without first conducting. an investigation and then using a fictitious name to report on the incident.

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