NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Metro Animal Care and Control has cited a horse-drawn carriage company after a picture was taken of a horse that appears to be very thin.
The photo of a white Percheron Draft horse was taken by a woman in downtown Nashville and posted to Facebook, where it has been shared over 2,400 times.
News 2 spoke with Melody Robinson, the owner of American Melody Carriages, before two Animal Control investigators met her Tuesday at her downtown carriage lot.
The investigators looked at the two horses Robinson brought to work and visited her property Wednesday morning.
Officers have since issued two citations-one for overworking an underweight animal and another for failing to provide veterinarian care. The latter was because the horse was underweight and had an abscess on its foot.
Metro Animal Control says this information is being submitted to the Transportation Licensing Commission.
News 2 spoke with Robinson after the citations were issued. She said she’s been getting an outpouring of support and is going to defend herself in court.
We also spoke with Robinson before she was cited about the thin horse, named Daisy.
“I’m trying to make her situation better,” she said Tuesday night. “My horses are always fat and the lady I got her from said she had a tooth infection and that’s why she dropped weight.”
Robinson said she took Daisy out Monday night to work for an hour reservation that had been made. She says Daisy was fine to work.
“Once you get to know the horse, you kind of have your own secret language,” she told News 2. “You’re going to know when they’re not feeling well or something is wrong.”
Robinson says her horses eat twice a day or three times a day if they work. She says Daisy is eating more than that in order to gain weight.
But the woman who took the picture sees it differently. Preshias Harris explained to News 2 she was driving back from an event when she pulled up next to Robinson’s horse-drawn carriage downtown.
She was shocked by what she saw, which is why she took the photo and posted it to Facebook.
“You could count the ribs,” Harris said. “It’s not a romantic ride if you’re looking at the back with two bones stick out in the back of a hip, it’s not romantic at all.”
News 2 found out that there are rules that horse-drawn carriage companies must follow. For instance, horses can work up to eight hours on the weekends but can’t be out working if it’s above 95 degrees.
According to Billy Fields, Transportation Licensing Commission Director, there has been only one other complaint lodged against horse-drawn carriage companies in the last year and a half. The other complaint did not result in a citation. He says his office received one other complaint from someone who doesn’t agree with the practice of horse-drawn carriages.