Before cars, subways, and trucks took over transporting residents and objects around the city, the job was the responsibility of horses. And of course, not everyone treated those horses humanely.
Spending their days pulling streetcars and wagons, horses were routinely beaten by drivers, and they often were literally worked to death.
This prompted wealthy resident Henry Bergh to found the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1866. With Bergh at the helm, the ASPCA helped write anti-cruelty laws and built public water troughs for horses (at least one of which still exists near Sixth Avenue and 59th Street).
They also created the first horse ambulance, as seen in the photo above.
Today the ASPCA is a national animal welfare organization that operates a shelter on 92nd Street where four-legged New Yorkers can be adopted.
Another adoption option: New York City Animal Care & Control, which operates three shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. NYCACC doesn’t have the funds and history of the ASPCA, but they too have lots of sweet, loving dogs and cats looking for new homes.
Tags: ambulance for horses, animal adoption in New York City, animal welfare in the 19th century, animal welfare laws in New York City, ASPCA, Henry Bergh, Henry Bergh Memorial Hospital, New York City Animal Care and Control