‘Sickening’: Dead horse lay on Aussie city street
Victoria's animal welfare watchdog is investigating after distressing photographs of a dead horse still hitched up to a carriage on the streets of Melbourne surfaced.
Photos of the dead horse taken about 10:30am on Sunday were sent to the Melbourne Against Horse-Drawn Carriages group.
They showed the horse on the side of the road on Arden Street in North Melbourne covered with a blanket while still hitched up to the carriage.
Melbourne Against Horse-Drawn Carriages campaign director Kristin Leigh described the images as "sickening".
"It was always only going to be a matter of time before this occurred" she said.
"We are devastated for the poor horse who seemingly died at the hands of these operators.
"We are demanding the Road Safety Minister ban horse-drawn vehicles from Victorian roads entirely - horses are not vehicles, but this is what they are considered to be under the 1986 Victorian Road Safety Act. This must be amended immediately".
RSPCA Victoria inspectorate team leader for the north west region Karen Collier confirmed a "cruelty report regarding a collapsed carriage horse in North Melbourne" had been received.
"This is a current investigation and therefore no further comments are available at this time," she said.
"Anyone who witnessed the incident, or saw the horse prior to the incident, is encouraged to contact RSPCA Victoria's Inspectorate via rspcavic.org/report or by calling 9224 2222."
Victorian Animal Justice Party MP Andy Merrick said the incident served as a reminder horse-drawn carriages should be banned.
"The death of a carriage horse in Melbourne's CBD this week is truly heartbreaking - the worst part is, it was totally preventable," he said.
"Horses and cars on busy city streets don't mix. It's that simple. It isn't just an animal welfare issue, it's a road safety issue too."
In a statement on Tuesday night, Melbourne ride service Unique Carriage Hire - while not the company involved - suggested the horse died from a heart attack.
"On Sunday a horse passed away in Melbourne when travelling in to start work. It wasn't one of our horses or our company but we are deeply saddened and really feel for the owners family," it said.
"We believe it was due to a heart attack but we are still waiting to hear results. Our carriages were not far away so we stopped to help and assist.
"The horse was in perfect condition, fit and healthy and was just about to start work. The owner of the horse is very upset at the loss of his family member and is grieving."
Roads Minister Ben Carroll said he was saddened by the images of the incident.
"Should anyone witness mistreatment of the animals involved in horse-drawn carriage services, they're encouraged to contact the RSPCA so the matter can be formally investigated,'' he said.
Originally published as 'Sickening': Dead horse lay on city street