A driver-less carriage horse ran out of control through Central Park Monday, police said.
The horse was on the street and ran through the park, coming back out onto 59th Street at about 5:40 p.m. where it hit a cab, police said. The horse started its run near 66th Street, according to PETA.
After becoming loose, the horse followed its usual route along roadways within the park and exited the park again at 59th St. and Fifth Avenue where a group of horse carriage drivers waited to corral it, said a spokesman for the carriage drivers’ union. When it came out of the park the carriage caught on an open taxi door, he said.
Police said there were no injuries reported.
Shortly after, Mets outfielder Matt den Dekker tweeted that he almost got run over by the horse “running wild through the city.”
The incident sparked a fire in the already-contentious debate about whether carriage horses belong in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to end the era of horse-drawn carriages in the city and several celebrities have thrown their weight into the debate.
“We’re considering a range of options that would move the horses off our streets, safeguard the animals and protect the livelihoods of the men and women who provide carriage rides,” said Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for the mayor’s office.
PETA Senior VP Dan Mathews said yesterday’s incident shows “the urgency” of the need for the ban.
Celebrities have thrown their hats into the debate, with many coming out against the carriage industry. Actor Liam Neeson has become a face for the pro-carriage movement and spoken out against the mayor’s promised ban.
Carriage drivers have steadfastly said it is safe for both the horses and the public.
“Neither the horse or any people were injured in today’s incident,”said a carraige driver in the city, Stephen Malone, in a statement. “What you saw is the industry’s professionalism. We knew where the horse would go, corralled it, and brought it back to the stable.”
In April, a horse got spooked near 59th Street, causing him to fall over. The horse, named Spartacus, was not injured.