The death on Sunday of Charlot, a calèche horse who returned to work that very day, has brought renewed focus on the use of the animals in Old Montreal. (Chris Romanyk/Facebook)

A carriage horse’s death in Montreal brings sadness and anger


The collapse and death of a carriage horse Sunday afternoon in Montreal is unlikely to alter the timing of the city’s upcoming ban on the use of the carriages–known locally as calèches–at the end of next year.

Speaking to reporters, Mayor Valérie Plante said Monday legal considerations and a desire to help calèche drivers find other work prevent her from changing the Dec. 31, 2019 deadline.

Charlot is seen on the streets of Montreal Sunday in this handout photo. Montreal’s mayor, Valérie Plante, says she’s more convinced than ever that the city’s caleche industry needs to be shut down but she says she will not move forward the deadline for the end of calèche rides from Dec. 31, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Sauvetage Animal Rescue, Facebook

The horse, named Charlot, died after collapsing on the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal.

“It was gut-wrenching,” said one observer, Chris Romanyk, who lives near by.

“It was screaming in pain.”

Within a half hour of the Charlot’s collapse, two officers from the SPCA’s Investigations Division arrived, but the horse was already deceased.

Charlot’s owner, Luc Desparois, who runs a calèche company called Lucky Luc, says it’s not unusual for any animal to drop dead.

It was then turned over to provincial authorities.

The horse’s owner, Luc Desparois of Lucky Luc Stables, said Charlot was out of service earlier this summer after showing signs of minor gastrointestinal pain and had returned to work the day he died.

Desparois added that it is not unusual for any animal to drop dead.

“Why he died? We don’t know,” he told CBC Radio.

Attorney Anna Pippus is director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice and a strategic advisor for We Animals. (Photo: Kornelia Kulbacki)

“It’s like humans. People die out of the blue without showing any signs.”

Mayor Plante said there were no signs that Charlot had been mistreated.

Quebec’s Department of Agriculture told RCI that veterinarians expect to have an autopsy report “in a several days.”

For her take on Charlot’s death, I spoke by phone with Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice and a strategic advisor for We Animals, at her home in Vancouver.

I began asking her about her immediate reaction when she heard the news.

Montreal police say they received a call about the horse around 3 p.m. on Sunday. (Mathieu Wagner/Radio-Canada)
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17 comments on “A carriage horse’s death in Montreal brings sadness and anger
  1. Avatar Adrian Appley says:

    It is high time ALL horse drawn carriages were banned. It is cruel.

  2. Avatar Janet Glancy says:

    This industry needs to go away. This is callous and cruel abuse.

  3. Avatar Sugar Bouche says:


  4. Avatar Maureen McGill says:

    This is unacceptable and extreme cruelty to animals. RIP poor baby!

  5. Avatar Ivana halliday says:

    This is so heartbreaking and said, there is no excuse or justification for this poor animal having to die like this.
    We should be ashamed
    RIP majestic soul. ❤️

  6. Avatar Lucie Renaud says:

    Les propriétaires, ces personnes qui se croient tout permis, faire travailler( le mot est faible) en tout temps, ces pauvres bêtes sans défense, sont responsables de cruauté envers leur animaux et aussi la Ville, cette belle ville de Montréal qui n’exige rien ex: visite régulière chez le vétérinaire de la part de ces personnes est autant responsable sinon plus de la mort de ces pauvres bêtes HONTEUX…HONTE AUX PROPRIOS ET HONTE À LA MAIRESSE DE LA VILLE DE MONTRÉAL pour ne pas avoir agi à temps.

  7. Avatar Lori Curtis says:

    The horse was sick and why didn’t he get her health taken care of. They need to Ban carriages and horses. That was in the country not the city with brick or concrete roads. Those are hard on a horses hoofs.

  8. Time to call a halt to this kind of exploitation, don’t you think?

    Anyone who thinks no, well, why don’t YOU give it a go?

  9. Avatar Loretta young says:

    Animals deserve dignity and the right to a life without pain. Please ban this terrible, useless “tourist “ attraction.

  10. Avatar moya watters says:

    this is disgusting and cruel and they should not be allowed to get away with this cruelty. it should be stopped NOW before anymore poor horses lose their lives through the thoughtlessness and horrible work these poor horses do…….its barbaric. let them live in peace and harmony as all animals should do……

  11. Avatar Carol-Ann Lamothe says:


  12. Avatar Pinky says:

    It’s the age of machinery
    Not the life animals anyone
    Especially here is Canada:(

  13. Avatar Animal Compassion says:

    I’m just so sorry for the loss of this horse, and for all of the other animals that die due to abuse, neglect, torture, lack of medical care, being used and abused by humans for their own selfish gain. Can we just leave the animals alone now? We’re better than this, Humans!

  14. Avatar Jean wojtowicz says:

    It was screaming in pain !! I guess now they will eat it . horsemeat . is it halal meat . ? When will this tourcher stop . sickening.

  15. Avatar Judy says:

    This needs to stop. I don’t care what anyone says it is animal abuse and animal cruelty. Put his ass and anyone else who does this in jail. Never let them have anymore animals

  16. Avatar Zoila says:

    Arrête cruauté des animaux