Ian McKeever, 54, is facing several charges including one count of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals, and failure to provide proper sustenance, prosecutors said.
Ryder, the carriage horse, collapsed on the street near West 45th Street and Ninth Avenue in August 2022, and officers from the NYPD Mounted Unit had to hose the horse down after it couldn’t stand up for some time.
McKeever had been working with Ryder in Central Park since 9:20 a.m. and the horse looked thin and frail. Ryder was also walking slowly while panting with his tongue out, according to prosecutors.
When Ryder collapsed at 5:10 p.m., McKeever allegedly tried to force him to stand by pulling on the reins and using a whip. He did not give any water to the horse, despite working in 84-degree heat, prosecutors said.
Animal rights groups shared a video of Ryder, where a large crowd gathered around the fallen horse in shock.
Shortly after the incident, Ryder retired and spent the rest of his days at a private horse farm outside of New York City, according to the Transport Workers Union. Less than a few months into retirement, he was euthanized due to a series of serious medical conditions and his age, officials said.
“As alleged, Ryder should not have been working on this hot summer day. Despite his condition, he was out for hours and worked to the point of collapse,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. “All animals deserve to be treated with the utmost care and the type of abuse that Ryder allegedly suffered is unacceptable.”
Charline Charles is a digital journalist from Brooklyn who has covered local news along with culture and arts in the New York City area since 2019. She joined PIX11 News in 2022. See more of her work here.