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NYC carriage driver accused of changing horse's age to keep it working

NY Carriage Driver Accused Of Switching Animals To Keep Old Horse Working


NEW YORK (AP) - A carriage driver has been accused of altering a hoof brand to make a 22-year-old draft horse with a breathing ailment appear to be a healthier horse nearly half its age.

Frank Luo branded the wrong hoof identification number on an aging horse named Ceasar, who was supposed to be resting on a Pennsylvania farm, so he could work under a license issued to a 12-year-old horse named Carsen, city health officials said in an administrative order last month.

The details of the case, obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information request, come as Mayor Bill de Blasio and animal-rights activists are pushing to ban the city's carriage industry as inhumane to the horses. Drivers have responded by saying they care for the horses like their own children.

In the written order, officials said a city vet noticed that the horse had Carsen's ID number on its hoof, but its "physical characteristics and medical condition was that of the older horse." Ceasar had a mild, chronic condition called "heaves," which is similar to asthma, city officials said.

Luo told The Associated Press on Friday that the vet simply got it wrong.

"I did not switch the horses. It's just very confusing because they look alike," he said.

Initially, Luo submitted paperwork intended to prove that the horse really was Carsen, including a handwritten note from a Pennsylvania farmer who said Ceasar had been on his farm for months. The city asked for more proof, including a veterinarian's evaluation

Five days later, Luo's lawyer informed the department that he couldn't afford to have the horse sitting idle and had shipped him to Pennsylvania and sold him.

"It's all settled now," Luo said. He said he would continue to operate his business using other horses.

The sale effectively ended the investigation by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which monitors the horses' health. But the Department of Consumer Affairs, which regulates the drivers, is still investigating.

Luo's regulatory problems date to September, when he was cited for working at least two horses without active licenses. He also was accused of working Ceasar for nine days in July when the horse was supposedly in Pennsylvania. City regulations give the horses five weeks of pasture time each year.

Also in September, the Department of Consumer Affairs cited Luo for false advertising, overcharging customers and operating a carriage for more hours than allowed. Luo's company, the Manhattan Carriage Co., agreed in January to pay a fine and restitution.

In an unrelated incident, a horse Luo was driving in September bolted on 8th Avenue and hit a car. It suffered minor injuries.

A 2007 audit by the city comptroller noted that health certificates kept for carriage horses sometimes contained physical descriptions that changed from year to year, suggesting they weren't the same animals. In 2008, a stable owner pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct to resolve allegations that he tried to bribe a city investigator. Carriage owners have denied any subterfuge and maintained that their animals are among the healthiest and most tightly regulated anywhere.

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turk182sh May 02 2014 at 2:24 PM

Revoke his license to operate in the city, fire the person in charge of the program for being incompentant and then shut it down.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
gdl4974 May 02 2014 at 1:39 PM

HE IS A MONSTER! AND HE NEEDS TO STOP THIS IS ANIMAL CRIMINAL CRUELTY!!
HE NEEDS TO BE IN JAIL ASAP!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
griffin574 May 02 2014 at 1:39 PM

no more driving or horses for YOU....I dont care of your excuse..your despicable....

Flag Reply +1 rate up
sgard206 May 02 2014 at 1:35 PM

Sad that this one "bad apple" will spoil the carriage trade in all of NYC. Perhaps a better ID method would be an ear or inner lip tattoo that cannot be easily altered. Ther's also microchipping.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
desertbulldad May 02 2014 at 1:34 PM

take this goddam guys license away PERIOD

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
theemovado desertbulldad May 02 2014 at 1:58 PM

And send him back to whatever hellhole country he comes from.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
torianne May 02 2014 at 8:29 PM

Give me a break! I am a horsewoman who has hated carriage rides for this and other cruel treatment.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
cvanac8550 May 02 2014 at 1:32 PM

Exactly the kind of responses the greedy developers who want to land grab the stables are looking for .Public support so they can put an end to the carriages in Central Park. Then they can knock down the stables and put up "luxury high rises" so the rich get richer
and the carriage drivers are out of a job. I do think that carriages should be only alowed to traverse Central Park and they should not be permitted to work in extreme weather.
Understand this it's not really about inhumane treatment of the horses it's about money ....as usual

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
Liebchken cvanac8550 May 02 2014 at 1:59 PM

Don't white wash the issue or scapegoat these abused overworked horses with a real estate issue. It doesn't matter w h a t happends beyond getting these horses out of prostitution. They're done.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
cvanac8550 Liebchken May 02 2014 at 2:27 PM

I give up.....

Flag 0 rate up
nikki.mo1 May 02 2014 at 1:29 PM

Shipped him to Pennsylvania and sold him...more than likely at an auction where he was sold to a meat buyer and sent to slaughter in Canada after working for 22 years. That's typically what happens.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
RARE May 02 2014 at 1:26 PM

THIS ALL BOILS DOWN TO THAT WE NEED TO ENFORCE STRICTER LAWS ON ANIMAL ABUSE AND CRUELTY..WE NEED TO BE THE VOICE OF THOSE WHO CAN NOT SPEAK....NO LONGER SHOULD CRUELTY BE TREATED AS A MISDEMEANOR IN ALL STATES , IT SHOULD BE TREATED AS A FELONY WITH JAIL TIME SERVED 7 TO 15 YRS ALSO A FINE OF A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT NEEDS TO BE ADDED ALONG WITH THE JAIL TIME. MAYBE IF ALL THE STATES WOULD START DOING THIS AND THE ABUSERS KNOW WHAT THEY FACE WE WOULD I ONLY PRAY TO THE END OF ABUSE AND DOG FIGHTING AND THE END TO THESE POOR HORSES BEING USED TO MAKE MONEY JUST THE WAY PIT BULLS ARE USED TO MAKE MONEY.....FOR THE HORSES BEING SOLD THEY NEED TO HAVE A CONTRACT SET UP WITH A RESCUE AND IT NEEDS TO BE DOCUMENTED AND INVESTIGATED THAT THE ANIMAL IS SENT THERE...WE NEED TO PUT A END TO ABUSE AND CRUELTY..

Flag Reply +8 rate up
1 reply
kylagillconnors RARE May 02 2014 at 1:31 PM

YES and Amen ! SOOOOOOOOOOOO sick of "humans" being cruel to a helpless animal.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
muffin May 02 2014 at 1:25 PM

He continues to get a license????? He should be charged with animal cruelty and be in jail. What a loser.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
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