Carriage horse euthanized after collapsing Downtown


A carriage horse collapsed Downtown on Friday. (photo Hunter Demster)

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The owners of a horse that fell on the Main Street mall Friday night said the horse had to be euthanized.

Hunter Demster was one of the many witnesses who saw the sight from the sidewalk. He was walking to an event with his goddaughter around 7 p.m.

“I see this beautiful horse laying on its side with several workers trying to push it to its feet. They couldn’t do it,” he said.

“What I saw Friday night was just a horrific scene, and the animal was in distress the entire time,” said another witness, who did not want to be identified.

Uptown Carriage Company released a statement Monday that stated Junior the horse experienced a rare paralysis "without notice."

“Upon arrival of our veterinarian, it was recommended Junior be euthanized," the statement said.

The company did not go into further detail regarding the horse's care or condition.

That explanation was not enough for some witnesses.

"For me it’s heartbreaking, seeing those animals," Demster said. "There are days I go down there and it’s too hot, so what about those animals?"

“What regulations are in place to protect animals?” one witness asked.

WREG checked the city ordinance.

By law, a veterinarian must examine the horses at least once a year.

Owners also have to give horses a rest every 30 minutes during peak work times. They are not allowed to work in temperatures above 100 degrees.

“When tourists come to visit our city or locals walking down Main Street and horses are dying, to me that says there’s an obvious problem," Demster said.

He recommended the city outlaw horse carriages.

WREG contacted the city to access Uptown Carriage Company's record of accidents, but it was not available on Labor Day.

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