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Update: Jerry the Horse Revealed Dead After Cover-Up

Written by Michelle Kretzer | August 27, 2013

The carriage company that owned Jerry forced him to spend his days hauling tourists through dangerous, congested streets in the scorching Salt Lake City heat. And when Jerry finally collapsed and was so weak that he couldn’t even stand up again on his own, they tied ropes around him, dragged him into a trailer, hauled him back to his barn, and hoisted him inside with a forklift. And that’s only the beginning of this sad, sordid story.

PETA snapped pictures of Jerry’s ordeal and publicly released them. After the ensuing outcry, the carriage company sent out a picture of a standing horse, proclaiming that Jerry was once again standing on his own and on the road to recovery. There was just one problem: It wasn’t Jerry.

PETA called the carriage company out, and once cornered, it admitted that the picture was a fake. The company then changed its story, claiming that Jerry was fully recovered and living “on a farm” in an undisclosed location. Despite repeated requests from the media, the company refused to let anyone see him. PETA was skeptical, so we set up a $1,000 reward for anyone who could give us information about Jerry and his whereabouts.

After public pressure continued to mount, the carriage company finally admitted that Jerry was dead. Given the company’s history of secrecy and deception, PETA is now seeking a thorough investigation and demanding that it release Jerry’s veterinary records and allow a necropsy so that we know when Jerry died and what killed him.

Regardless of why the company tried so hard to deceive the public, poor Jerry’s collapse and death are tragic evidence that horses don’t belong on sweltering, traffic-filled streets. Just like animals forced to perform in the circus and dogs made to race for money, horses used to pull carriages are grist for the mill, a source of income. Disposable. Replaceable.

What You Can Do

Jerry’s death might not be in vain. Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and the City Council are now examining whether horse-drawn carriages should be banned in the city. Local residents are also holding a vigil for Jerry this evening. Please take a moment to e-mail the City Council or leave it a message at 801-535-7600, and let the council members know that you support a ban, especially if you live in the city. Please be sure to keep all comments polite and respectful.


Thank you to those who were present for Jerry’s vigil.

Please support PETA’s ‘Free the Horses’ campaign! We are aiming to raise $40,000 to expose the ugly truth about horse drawn carriages. We have until September 24. All we need is you! 

Commenting is closed.
  • Isabelle Nash says:

    I am dismayed that the progressive city of Salt Lake is allowing animals to be abused in your streets. I encourage you to ban horse drawn carriages.

  • Jamie Pattan says:

    I fully support the ban for horse drawn carriages. Utah needs to realize that our world is changing and our generation is asking for animal rights. It’s not too much to ask.

  • Ann Purchase says:

    For the love God have some simple pity – these are living breathing creatures not attractive tourist oddities who pull carriages. Even here in Greece = all carriage horse are examined for health, fitness and that they actually have the correct harnesses and are of a size to fit that particular carriage. Surely it is not beyond the wit of the USA to impose the same safeguards.

  • Kathy B says:

    Disgusting……this industry should be strictly regulated by the Dept of Animal Control and an annual inspection on the horses should be required, without exception. RIP Jerry, and may you run forever in fields of lush green grass.

  • anita meyer says:

    Very sad! These animals need to be treated with respect, care and love!

  • Angeline Gullo says:

    I for one support the ban of horse driven carriages in the city. I also think the carriage company and responsible parties that owned Jerry should: 1) be put out of business and 2) serve jail time for cruelty to animal/s 3) and be fined. Then they need to 4) publicly apologize and do community service in saving other animals at risk. Nuff said.

  • Karin Nelson says:

    Shame on you people and shame on your city. When will we wake up and stop using animals for entertainment and our own financial gain? Despicable!!!

  • Erin Kull says:

    Please ban this cruel act of horses drawing carriages. Please.

  • jackie Labree says:

    I support a ban on horse-drawn carriages. Let was also so sad what happened to that horse Jerry, no animal should have to die like that. Jackie LaBree

  • sherry jones says:

    just sent an email to the city council – JUSTICE FOR JERRY and all “carriage horses”… i SO wish i could say it is unbelievable, what occurred in SLC, but sadly it is not. what i would find REPREHENSIBLE is that the carriage company – WHOSE NAME IS NOT BEING RELEASED, apparently [and suspiciously…] – NOT be held responsible, not only for that poor horse’s DEATH, but for the FRAUD and underhanded behavior that came after in an attempt to HIDE his death. tho i fight for ALL animals’ rights, i can’t comprehend how ANYone west of the mississippi particularly, could treat the noble horse – that helped BUILD that area of our country – in such a HORRIBLE manner!! DEMAND OF THE COUNCIL THAT HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGES BE BANNED, *AND* THAT THE COMPANY BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR JERRY’S DEATH – after a THOROUGH investigation!! =^..^=

  • AlliD says:

    I sure hope the carriage company is held accountable for Jerry’s death. They should be charged with animal abuse and not be allowed to operate their business anymore. It’s heartbreaking how some people can be so cold and heartless to animals. What a terrible way to be treated in his final hours.

  • cristina munteanu says:

    Please ban all horse drawn carriages!! This latest incident is the final straw…please recognize that. These animals’ lives are worth more than that! Thank you!

  • mary margaret brown says:

    The mayor of SLC is the owner of the SLC slaughterhouse which has been under investigation many times for animal cruelty. I HOPE that the city will get involved in Jerry’s situation.

  • Angie Martinez says:

    People who use God’s creations for their monetary gains are the absolute worse creature that works this earth!! They do not care how they are treated at all as long as they receive money. Horses are such majestic animals. Please BAN THE CARRIAGE HORSES immediately and people to take carriage rides..WALK! WALK!

  • Debbie says:

    Please carefully consider the need to remove horse drawn carriages from the streets. This horse didn’t deserve to be pushed until he couldn’t stand and die a miserable death. I support the ban and hope you do too

  • Gina Renee' Powe says:

    PLEASE make a ban on horse drawn carriages in your city…Be the one who LEADS other city and states to do the right thing. These Beautiful and intelligent animals deserve better to be free and run free in green pastures, for they have fought beside us in many wars throughout history died with us and even helped build this country. Beside every mans footsteps through history, there was a horses footsteps right beside them. Thank you, Gina Renee’ Powe

  • Cher Kalil says:

    Mayor Ralph Becker and city council, I was saddened to read that Jerry the carriage horse had died as a result of being overworked in the Utah heat, taking in car exhaust. And that the carriage company knew they did wrong as it was discovered they had repeatedly lied about Jerry’s status. Thank God for PETA’s repeated pressure to undercover the truth. This shows that the carriage company knew what they were putting that horse through was inhumane treatment. This is only one instance that we’re aware of. The day of horse drawn carriages in public areas has passed. The population is far to large, resulting in a greater number of vehicles producing poisonous exhaust. Please consider banning horse-drawn carriages in city areas. Thank you for your consideration.

  • Sue Newell says:

    I could tell he was already dead! Poor thing! Yes I agree on a BAN to stop this torture of horses pulling carriages! Hell will be full of people that did this to him and other horses!

  • Ashley Wolfe says:

    Horse drawn carriages

  • joana pedrosa says:

    How can you do this to an animal?? they suffer just like us….please stop!

  • Kasey Cunningham says:

    This is ridiculous!! While tourists may enjoy it, and your city may make a few extra dollars, these horses are dying and this should not be happening!!! Stop this now!!

  • Ruzica Savic says:

    Terrible touched reading destiny of this poor horse…but Jerry’s dead unfortunately is not the first and,even worse, not the last one! This poor soul was victim of horrified inhumanity and I really deeply HOPE that something’s happen to stop abuse of horses in street traffic!!!!! Let’s help on way we can to finish with this cruel practice……

  • brittany says:

    Please ban horses being used as a taxi.. they hurt.. they cry..they suffer.. they just wanna b wild n free.. it’s not that hard to ban things when someone..aka animals are suffering.. those are acts of the devil.. please please pleaseeeeeeee stop this madness!!!

  • Pamela Gray says:

    Please don’t let this happen to another horse! When I learned about what really happened to Jerry, I was very saddened. Please ban all horse drawn carriages in Salt Lake City!

  • Vanessa Veleris says:

    Stop this cruel and stupid practice. Horses are magnificent creatures – they were not put on this earth to haul carts of foolish tourists around hot, congested, emissions-filled city streets.

  • Jean says:

    this horse company needs to be put out of business. End of story. Free those horses to a loving home

  • Anthony Cantone says:

    They the company should be prosecuted for animal abuse.

  • Carole Wojcik says:

    I am so sick about this I can’t get off my chair. I feel like someone punched me in the stomach. I would have done anything to give this horse the life he deserved. When will it STOP!!! People make me sick and should pay for their actions.

  • Jan Johnson says:

    Mayor Ralph Becker and the City Council of Salt Lake City, When I think of Salt Lake City I think of the Great Salt Lake, of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a purer city. I DO NOT think of Salt Lake City as a place that abuses animals! That is what horse drawn carriages do – they abuse the horses! Ask someone who has stood for years on a concrete floor at work how their back and feet feel -‘pained’ is what they will tell you. That’s how horses feel in their hips and shoulders from walking on city streets! Why would you EVER, EVER allow that kind of abuse in your city? It’s cruel. And what that carriage company did to ‘Jerry’ was nothing less than criminal. They will be lucky to get by with having a business left after this atrocity! You are the City Council – you are charged with keeping your city safe and beautiful and a wonderful place to visit. I’m pretty sure the children of your community will not thank you for allowing the animals to be harmed in this way. Stand up for what is right for your community and for the animals!

  • Rebecca Lee says:

    this is disgusting

  • Laura says:

    I WON’T come to your city if this is OT banned!

  • Lisa Apostolides says:

    This needs proper investigation and if found to be neglecting the animals they make a profit from then this carriage company needs to be penalised heavily and a review of all carriage companies that use animals in cities needs to occur. Sickening and truely sad that this had to happen. Animal welfare needs to become more regulated immediatley

  • Phyllis Marks says:

    please ban the use of these animals being used to pull carriages in the city. It is not romantic to ride in a carriage knowing that the animal is suffering from this abuse. Sincerely thanking you for your consideration in this matter, Phyllis

  • Judy says:

    I have always detested the thought of any equine being used in such a way as carriage horses , they are not treat well at all , they suffer needlessly at the hands of money grubbing fools that are greedy and simply do not care for these animals .. lets put there butts in a harness and make them wonder around the city’s daily with out care and in all sort of weather . it’s just plain nonsince …

  • Lisa Kopfensteiner says:

    Please ban horse drawn carriages so no more animals will have to suffer and die for no good reason.

  • Gayle Carter says:

    Please care enough to not let this terrible thing happen again. Please outlaw Horse Drawn-Carriages. I am counting on you to be my representative and do the right thing. Thank you, with love, Gayle Carter

  • Ragan says:

    I do not live in Utah, but I am deeply affected and saddened at the tragedy that has taken place regarding Jerry the horse. I deeply urge you to please examine what these magnificent and beautiful creatures are forced to endure at the entertainment of we humans. These helpless animals have no voice of their own and it is tragic what we put them through. I realize that there are work animals and jobs that animals do…but horse drawn carriages is NOT a necessity. I have certainly been on the other side and found it enchanting to have a “fairytale” ride. I had NO idea how awful these precious lives are treated for our enjoyment though. PLEASE take a stand that OTHER cities, including my own can follow and say no to this barbaric practice!!!

  • Anna Savo says:

    They should tie up the owners of Jerry to a carriage amake then walk the hot sweltering streets and see how they like it!

  • Maritza says:

    Anywhere that animals are exploited it is against the nature of our world. Animals are part of our world for us to share it. They are not ours. We happen to be on this beautiful planet. STOP all abuse.

  • debra owens says:

    i do not think horses should have to do this is cruel..a horse should have as happy a life as any human being and this is no happy life.please stop with the horse drawn carriages, this is 2013 afterall and there is nothing romantic about it.

  • Barbara Lipinski says:

    Please ban the use of horse drawn carriages in Salt Lake CIty. Thank you!

  • Victoria Anderson says:

    This cruelty to animals has to stop! We are supposed to be the smartest species on the planet and we’re the only ones who kill other species for fun, entertainment and money. Please stop horse drawn carriages in your city. Thank you.

  • peg maschke says:

    i surely ask you to BAN this, jerry never needed to suffer, people once again killed our innocent for MONEY, PLAIN PROFIT

  • Denise Bell says:

    I support the ban on horse drawn carriages in the city. Horses and carriages have no place in today’s modern overcrowded cities. Too much traffic and not enough room for manoeuvre. They don’t stand a chance against metal.

  • Laura Barnes says:

    Just ban them already. Thats all I gotta say!

  • Chelsey Lockett says:

    Dear Mayor Ralph Becker, I fully support a ban on horse-drawn carriages in your city. Your decision would put a stop to the devastating harm that befalls these beautiful animals on the busy down town streets of your city. There are many other ways that people can enjoy your city streets with open transportation without the use of animals. I truly hope that you can find it in your heart to make a decision to let horses live in their right full surroundings by ending this unnecessary form of entertainment.

  • Brenda Fury says:

    This is not only an outrage, but a huge wake-up call for the immediate need to stop the torture of these animals for profit. This carriage company who killed Jerry should never be allowed to own an animal, nor come within a thousand yards of one. I hope they are dealt a severe, extremely costly penalty with ample jail time! But even this would not be enough to make up the horrible abuse, leading to his death, Jerry endured!

  • Kristell says:

    I support a ban on horse-drawn carriages in your city! Please consider supporting this as well.

  • Margaret Mroz says:

    This breaks my heart!!! That horse should not of been over worked, especially with the excruciating heat. There was no need for this to happen to the poor horse… They should pay for what they have done, life in prison for the rest of there life’s or even better let them do hard work non stop for days in excruciating and let them see what it feels like. I could careless about there lives, but for the horse that was complete neglect and lack of a heart. This is sad to hear, something needs to be done with people who do things like this to defenseless animals… I am a true animal lover, feeling disgusted right now!!!!!!

  • wilma says:

    I support a ban horse-drawn carriages, or any kind of animal exploit.