Quebec City calèche horses involved in two separate incidents

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WATCH: The debate over Quebec's caleche industry has once again been reignited after two incidents in Quebec City. Mike Armstrong looks at the debate over an industry that seems to be less and less romantic, and increasingly controversial – May 22, 2017

Two separate incidents involving horse-drawn carriages happened within an hour and 15 minutes of each other near the Château Frontenac in Quebec City Saturday afternoon.

The first incident happened at 4:30 p.m. on des Carrières Street.

Quebec City police spokesperson Daniel Pétrin said the driver — for an unknown reason — lost control of her horse.

The horse hit the sidewalk and the carriage overturned and tumbled down a grassy knoll. Pétrin said the horse somehow detached itself from the carriage.

The driver was taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

The horse was not injured and was taken in charge by the company that owns the carriages, according to Pétrin.

A horse drawn-carriage overturned in Quebec City and tumbled down a grassy hill after the driver lost control of the horse. Saturday, May 20, 2017.
A horse drawn-carriage overturned in Quebec City and tumbled down a grassy hill after the driver lost control of the horse. Saturday, May 20, 2017. Courtesy TVA

The second incident took place in front of the Château Frontenac at 5:45 p.m. near the intersection of St-Louis and du Trésor streets, when another calèche horse hit the sidewalk and fell to the ground.

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Pétrin said the horse was not immediately able to stand up.

WATCH BELOW: Animal rights activists speak out on the dangers of horse-drawn carriages after a horse slips on a metal plate in downtown Montreal.

A veterinarian arrived on the scene a short time later to tend to the animal.

The horse remained on the ground for at least two hours, according to Pétrin, before it was once again able to stand on its own.

Pétrin said crowds gathered around the animal and some were visibly upset over the incident, yelling at calèche drivers.

Several online petitions have since cropped up on social media, asking that Quebec City ban horse-drawn carriages.

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In Montreal, the calèche industry has been under fire in recent years, following similar incidents involving horse-drawn carriages.

READ MORE: Calèche horse, car collide in Griffintown, sparking debate over safety

In May of last year, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre tried to impose a one-year ban on the carriages but it was struck down in Quebec Superior Court, after drivers filed an injunction.

WATCH BELOW: Montreal calèche industry

Then in December, Coderre annouced a $500,000 investment aimed at improving the industry.

The city is paying for shelters, microchips for the horses, and training and uniforms for the drivers.

READ MORE: Animal lovers protest outside Montreal City Hall

But animal rights activists criticized the move.

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“You can’t just improve them, you have to put an end to it,” Steven Harnad told Global News at a protest outside city hall last February.

The protest took aim at the way the city has handled several animal rights files in recent years, from the pit bull ban, to the calèche industry and an urban rodeo planned for Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations.