NEW ORLEANS – A man faces an animal cruelty charge after he was recorded on video hitting and kicking his frightened horse in a New Orleans parade leading up to Mardi Gras, according to the Louisiana SPCA.
A paradegoer made the video Friday. The rider was a guest of the riding group Nu Generations in the Krewe of Oshun parade, an SPCA news release said Tuesday. The krewe's captain accompanied him to Louisiana SPCA headquarters Monday.
"It looks like the horse got frightened and the crowds were too much and it just shut down," Louisiana SPCA spokeswoman Alicia Haefele said in a phone interview. "It did not want to walk any further. That's when the rider got upset."
The SPCA is not releasing the rider's name, but said the krewe captain told officials he won't be allowed to ride with the group again.
"We've spoken with the horse's original owner," Haefele said, adding the original owner "made it clear the horse was not parade-ready."
Haefele said the SPCA took the horse into custody Tuesday, working with animal control authorities in the locality where the animal was stabled.
People accused of animal cruelty cannot have animals in their care, she said.
Haefele said the man is to be arraigned Feb. 15.
She said once the SPCA has completed its investigation, the files will be turned over to the city, which will decide whether to prosecute.
A weekslong celebration of parades and festivities leads up to the all-out revelry of Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, which falls this year on Feb. 13.