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NYC carriage driver accused in horse switch

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 29, 2014 at 1:00 pm •  Published: April 29, 2014

The sale effectively ended the investigation by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which monitors the horses' health. But the Department of Consumer Affairs, which regulates the drivers, is still investigating.

Luo's regulatory problems date to September, when he was cited for working at least two horses without active licenses. He also was accused of working Ceasar for nine days in July when the horse was supposedly in Pennsylvania. City regulations give the horses five weeks of pasture time each year.

Also in September, the Department of Consumer Affairs cited Luo for false advertising, overcharging customers and operating a carriage for more hours than allowed. Luo's company, the Manhattan Carriage Co., agreed in January to pay a fine and restitution.

In an unrelated incident, a horse Luo was driving in September bolted on 8th Avenue and hit a car. It suffered minor injuries.

Demos Demopoulos, secretary and treasurer of Teamsters Local 553, the union that represents Luo, said in a statement that the allegations were not representative of the industry.

"If the accusations are proved true, he should be punished to the full extent of the law," he said.

A 2007 audit by the city comptroller noted that health certificates kept for carriage horses sometimes contained physical descriptions that changed from year to year, suggesting they weren't the same animals. In 2008, a stable owner pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct to resolve allegations that he tried to bribe a city investigator. Carriage owners have denied any subterfuge and maintained that their animals are among the healthiest and most tightly regulated anywhere.