Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Downtown Carriage Horse Bites Tip Off Tourist's Finger

Posted By on Tue, Sep 9, 2014 at 6:00 AM

click to enlarge A carriage horse, probably not this horse, bit a woman's finger off this weekend. - MITCHELL3417 VIA FLICKR

One of the horses that pulls carriages in downtown St. Louis is in quarantine after eating the tip of a woman's finger Friday night.

St. Louis Health Department director Pam Walker says while the risk of transmitting rabies is "really low," the St. Louis Carriage Co. horse will be quarantined at a stable downtown for ten days.

"We're going to handle this like any other bite," Walker tells Daily RFT.

See also: RIP King the Clydesdale: Tilles Park Winter Wonderland Carriage Horse Dies During Ride

The woman, who is not from St. Louis, was petting the horse when "it bit the tip of her finger off," Walker says. The health department is waiting on the health records from Saint Louis University Hospital and could not specify the size of chunk bitten off.

Aside from a sudden taste for tourist fingertips, the horse shows no neurological symptoms, and it has a record of vaccinations, Walker says. She has coordinated with the state and local public health department to decide what happens to the horse.

Since January, only fourteen horses have been diagnosed with rabies, and those horses usually live in rural pastures, Walker says.

Walker started a campaign against the carriage horses this summer when she spotted a horse having a heat stroke in July. Now, companies can't offer horse-and-carriage rides when heat index is above 100 degrees.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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