(WARNING: These photos are disturbing.)
UPDATE: After a public outcry, the carriage company released a photo of a healthy horse and stated that Jerry was once again standing on his own and on the road to recovery—only to admit later that the photo was of a different horse. After changing its story several times, the carriage company finally admitted that Jerry had died. Continue reading for the original story and what you can do to help.
Original post: Like all horses forced to pull carriages, Jerry, who is forced to work on the streets of Salt Lake City, has to endure ALL weather extremes—from scorching-hot summers to bitter-cold winters. He is forced to haul tourists through busy, congested downtown streets, inhaling fumes and competing for road space with honking cars.
Earlier this month, while pulling a carriage full of tourists, he apparently succumbed to the 98-degree heat and collapsed. The heat radiating off the black asphalt on which he fell would have been much, much hotter than 98 degrees.
Jerry’s owners said that he collapsed because he suffers from colic, but we suspect heat exhaustion. Colic can be brought on or provoked by heat, dehydration, and stress—three factors that pretty much define daily life for horses who are forced to pull carriages.
Jerry’s death might not be in vain. Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and the city council are now examining whether horse-drawn carriages should be banned in the city. Local residents are also holding a vigil for Jerry this evening. Please take a moment to email the City Council or leave them a message at 801-535-7600 and let them know that you support a ban, especially if you live in the city. Please be sure to keep all comments polite and respectful.