Driver to blame for fallen caleche horse in Montreal: Owner
Three days after one of his horses was photographed collapsed on a city street, the owner of a Montreal caleche company says there’s no need to worry about the health of his animals.
Luc Desparois of Lucky Luc Stables says an inexperienced caleche, or carriage, driver is to blame for an incident that happened Tuesday, when one of his horses tripped on a street grate and fell to the asphalt.
Desparois said he’s being unfairly targeted by people concerned for the horse’s health, after photos of the fallen animal circulated online. He insists the horse was unhurt in the ordeal, but he’s giving it a few days off to rest anyway.
The incident has sparked renewed calls for Montreal to ban carriage horses from its streets.
The public outcry this week even went so far as Montreal City Hall, where Mayor Denis Coderre called for a “full veterinary report” on the health of caleche horses in the city.
Desparois says his animals receive regular visits from a vet, and the mayor’s proposal is unnecessary.
“The veterinarians are always checking these once, twice, at least three times a week,” Desparois told CTV Montreal on Friday. “The door is open,” he added.
Desparois’ carriage company is located just off Rue Notre Dame, where Tuesday’s photo was taken.
He says his animals are used to living in the city, and the accident occurred because an inexperienced caleche driver took the horse down a road where street grates are not covered.
Several animal rights activists have been pushing for years to have caleche horses banned from Montreal’s streets.
“The Montreal SPCA is extremely concerned about the welfare and safety of carriage horses in Montreal,” the organization said in a statement. “Tuesday’s incident exemplifies exactly why the Montreal SPCA has been opposed to the use of horse-drawn carriages in our city since 1869.”
The Montreal SPCA cites London, Paris, Beijing, and Toronto as other major cities that have banned horse-drawn carriages from their streets.
“The Montreal SPCA believes it is time for Montreal to follow suit by phasing out this antiquated, inhumane, and unsafe industry,” the organization said.