Karozzin driver to face criminal action over dead horse

Horse died due to "excessive heat, heavy load and steep route"

The horse collapsed in the August heat. Photo: Marc Aaron Orchard

The horse collapsed in the August heat. Photo: Marc Aaron Orchard

The Animal Welfare Directorate has asked the police to begin criminal proceedings for mistreatment against the owner of the karozzin horse which collapsed and died in Floriana earlier this month.

The environment ministry said on Monday a police complaint had been filed after scientific examinations had confirmed that the combination of excessive heat, heavy loads and the steep route had contributed to the horse’s death from overheating.

On August 8, the animal had collapsed at around 1pm in St Francis Street, near Boffa Hospital, after climbing the hill from the cruise ship terminal.

In a statement, the environment ministry said the Animal Welfare Directorate had asked the police to begin criminal proceedings against the karozzin driver for animal cruelty.

The ministry said it had begun the process of introducing new rules on the use of horse-drawn carriages to ensure the animals’ wellbeing.

The horse’s death had come just days after another karozzin horse had collapsed near Porte des Bombes. The horse recovered from the incident and Animal Welfare officials said they found no evidence of animal cruelty.

Activists who protested in Valletta two weeks ago have called for a gradual ban on the traditional carriages, while Animal Welfare Commissioner Emanuel Buhagiar has said they should be removed from the streets during the hottest hours of the day.

Operators, however, warn that a total or partial ban would result in a “massacre” of working horses, with sanctuaries having confirmed that they do not have enough space to take them in and drivers not being able to afford their upkeep.

Video: Sarah CarabottVideo: Sarah Carabott

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