A carriage horse fell in the middle of a busy New York City street on Wednesday, prompting organizations to speak out against the use of carriage horses in the city.
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) responded to the incident near Ninth Avenue and 45th Street in Manhattan around 5 p.m. yesterday, officers tell PEOPLE in a statement.
"Upon arrival, patrol officers observed a carriage horse lying in the middle of the roadway in distress," the NYPD adds.
NYPD Mounted officers hosed down the horse to cool it off. The animal was taken to a nearby stable where it received "proper veterinary care." The horse was awake as of Wednesday night, per ABC7 New York.
"The NYPD takes the health and well-being of our four legged friends in New York City very seriously, and are glad that our trained equestrian officers were able to assist," NYPD adds.
A video of the incident obtained by NBC News shows the driver attempting to pull up the animal and hitting it, yelling, "Get up! Come on! Get up! Get up!" as it lies on the ground. The horse instead puts down its head.
"He started whipping and saying 'Get up, get up. Like bro, don't whip your horse, he obviously needs some water, he looked dehydrated," eyewitness Kevin Gonzalez told NBC New York.
Another bystander, Christian Parker, also told the outlet, "I heard this thud and it sounded like almost like a car. But when I turned my head it was this poor horse in the middle of Ninth Avenue."
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Christina Hansen, a spokesperson for a union that represents carriage drivers, told NBC New York that the horse, Ryder, received a preliminary diagnosis (pending results of a blood test) of Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM), a neurological infection caused by possum droppings.
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"The neurological effects of the EPM caused the horse to stumble and fall as the carriage driver is trying to change lanes and turn here on 45th street on the way home," said Hansen. "And once he was down, he had difficulty getting up again from the neurological symptoms of EPM.
She added, "They were hosing the horse down as a precaution, but they checked all of his vitals he had good temperature, good color in his gums and everything like that."
Ryder is now recovering and will not be working. He could ultimately retire, a fate that many carriage horses with EPM face as they're likely to fall, per NBC New York.
Meanwhile, some organizations say this incident serves as a reason to stop carriage rides in New York City.
NYCLASS, an organization committed to ending carriage horse abuse, called on politicians to take action.
"@NYCCouncil@NYCSpeakerAdams@NYCMayor - the world is watching. This horse may die, like many others. We must pass Intro 573 to end this abuse! @BobHoldenNYC," the organization wrote, sharing footage of officers hosing down Ryder.
URGENT: Carriage horse collapsed in distress right now at 45 St/9th Ave unable to get up, likely from heat distress. @NYCCouncil @NYCSpeakerAdams @NYCMayor - the world is watching. This horse may die, like many others. We must pass Intro 573 to end this abuse! @BobHoldenNYC pic.twitter.com/K6E7N6ULVS
— NYCLASS (@nyclass) August 10, 2022
PETA also tweeted, "This horse COLLAPSED while pulling a carriage in NYC, likely from heat exhaustion, and has been down for over an hour. Horses don't belong in big cities where they're put in constant danger because of cars, humans, weather, and more."
Voters for Animal Rights wrote, "This is absolutely horrifying. Today a carriage horse collapsed on 45th & 9th. We don't know what happened. Please take action: http://vfar.org/horses Your @NYCCouncil Member's has the power to pass Intro 573 to replace horse carriages with electric carriages."
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) responded to criticism of the driver's actions, and wrote via Twitter, "The diagnosis of the equine veterinarian who examined Ryder is that he has EPM - a neurological disease caused by possum droppings. Please do not jump to conclusions before knowing the facts or talking to the carriage drivers' union."
It later added that "Ryder is on the mend" alongside a video of the horse eating out of a woman's hand.
TWU did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.