(Warning: the images in this story may be disturbing to some people)
CLEVELAND-- The Cleveland Animal Protective League is investigating after video and photos of a carriage horse falling on a downtown Cleveland street Saturday were shared on social media.
Cleveland Animal Protective League Executive Director Sharon Harvey said the humane organization received numerous complaints from people who saw photos and video of the horse, who is named Fredo. They showed the animal collapsing and sliding down Main Avenue, a steep brick road leading to the Flats.
Witnesses said the horse remained harnessed and appeared spooked by traffic and crowds. Video showed the horse laying in the roadway with scrapes on its hind legs. A witness said passers by had to use car mats to provide enough traction for the horse to stand.
Harvey said the APL is launching an investigation to determine if anything criminal occurred and to ensure the horse is healthy.
She said the APL has investigated Shamrock Carriages in the past, but did not prosecute in those cases.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Division of Police Bureau of Traffic, Mounted Unit, is also looking into this incident, and it remains under investigation.
The 9-year-old horse involved had visible scabs on his hind legs Monday afternoon. Jimmy Coppola, a manager for Shamrock Carriages, said a veterinarian examined Fredo earlier in the day and provided painkillers for the horse.
"We had a vet come in. He looked at the horse; he said the horse is fine. It's almost like a child falling down and skinning their knee," Coppola said, adding that while the veterinarian gave clearance for Fredo to return to work within a few days, the company will be taking him to a farm for about a month. "He went to pressure points and said he didn't think the horse was in any pain."
Coppola said he had not yet spoken with the driver involved, who he described as being "shaken up" by the incident. He said the carriage has brakes, but the company will no longer be driving down Main Avenue. He said the company welcomes the APL investigation and will be as transparent as possible.
He says, there have been a lot of lies going around about the company.
Their “urban” concrete stables actually have padded floors and plenty hay according to Coppola.
"We're sorry about the accident," Coppola said. "Obviously we wish it didn't happen, but I'm happy to see that people do care, as we do, about our horses."