CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A runaway carriage horse that was captured on video in Charleston died after sustaining injuries from the incident.
Officials with the Old South Carriage Company said Ervin, a draft horse who had been with the company since 2018, passed away after sustaining injuries to his legs when he took off running with an attached empty carriage near the barn on Sunday night.
According to company officials, after the horse was seen by a veterinarian, Ervin was in route to a surgical center but veterinarians determined surgery was not an option.
“Our company is devastated at the loss of one of our horses,” company officials said in a statement. “We have been a family-owned small business since 1983 and the safety of our animals, customers, and neighbors has always been a top priority. We remain fully committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to achieve that goal. We are currently assessing our procedures and protocol to ensure the safety of our horses. In the meantime, we ask for your prayers for our entire Old South family as we mourn his loss.”
Video provided by the Charleston Animal Society showed Ervin running in the area of Anson Street. A picture provided by officials also appeared to show that the horse suffered a leg injury in the incident.
Charleston police officials said the horse had broken loose from the carriage, was recaptured, and there were no injuries involved. City officials said their Livability Department is investigating the incident.
The Charleston Animal Society released the following statement:
“On Sunday, July 19th, shortly after 8:00 P.M., the Animal Society began receiving calls from citizens regarding a runaway carriage and an injured carriage horse. Videos and photos followed later.
Monday night, we learned that the draft horse, Ervin, was euthanized. This saddens us for all involved, including the carriage company, its owners and staff.
The video and photos show a bleeding and terrified horse. This must not be ignored and we urge the City of Charleston to conduct a full investigation. These images raise more questions about the enterprise of using horses in an urban environment.
Using horses in an urban environment continues to be controversial. Charleston Animal Society has never called for a ban, rather a peer-reviewed, prospective, scientific study to inform community leaders of the working conditions of these animals. The carriage industry and its supporters have fought this reasonable compromise from the outset.
Rather than coming to the table, our supporters have been physically assaulted and now we have been engaged in a two-year lawsuit aimed at silencing us and our advocacy for these animals. It is time to revisit this cruel enterprise that has caused the needless deaths of both humans and equines.”