Animal Defenders of Westchester

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Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704






The owner of the hansom cab involved in a life-threatening crash after its   horse bolted has a history of abusing his animals, authorities said.

Lorenzo Riccobono, 52, is well known to animal-rights groups in Pennsylvania, where he rented horses to Amish farmers until selling his barn a  few months ago.

In January 2004, a judge in Gap, Pa., found him guilty of animal cruelty  and fined him $867 after a starving horse had to be put down.

The horse "was a skeleton," recalled JoAnn Mau- ger, of the Large Animal   Protection Society. "He was lying there with the noose still around his neck."

During that investigation, Mauger said she discovered two other starving   horses, which Riccobono gave over to authorities as part of the plea deal.

Reached at his Queens home, Riccobono said didn't know what caused the  horse to bolt and declined to comment on the Pennsylvania incidents.

"This has got nothing to do with the case," he said. "This horse was in  good shape."

Mauger said Riccobono has admitted he buys horses from "kill lots" in New   Holland, Pa. — pens where people who give up their horses to be killed can be   bought cheaply for meat or other purposes.

But Riccobono insisted he bought "Spotty," the 5-year-old carriage horse,   from a Pennsylvania farm, not a kill lot.

On Monday, a Central Park horse and a carriage licensed by Riccobono veered   out of control after the horse galloped out of control for several blocks,   skidding on the wet road and smashing into a station wagon at 50th Street and Ninth Avenue.

Carriage driver Carmelo Vargas, 36, was thrown 10 feet and critically injured, and the car's two passengers were also hurt. Vargas was upgraded to  stable condition yesterday.

Riccobono's brother owned the horse involved in the mishap. It had to be destroyed.

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