BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore police are now investigating how and why horseback riders went galloping down North Avenue and other city streets Sunday night.

Derek Valcourt with more on the controversy and what city officials are now saying about it.

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This was no leisurely stroll. Several horses were seen going down normally busy streets Sunday — a sight so rare, many posted videos online.

“We didn’t see any of the horses that we recognized,” one woman said.

A woman who volunteers at the arabber stables on Fremont Street witnessed the spectacle. She says some of the riders looked like they didn’t know what they were doing.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake suggested the animals may have been taken without permission.

“People think it’s a joke. People think it’s funny. Those are animals, and I doubt very seriously that they were under the care of the individuals who were joyriding in the community,” the mayor said.

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City laws mandate special permission to ride horses on streets.

Police are now investigating who those riders were and if they had permission to be on the horses. Either way, the police commissioner says he doesn’t want it to happen again.

“It’s unsafe for pedestrians,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. “It’s unsafe for those young men who were riding the horses.”

Animal advocates agree that street rides could pose dangers.

“A horse could get spooked. A car could go by. They could blow their horn. A horse could get spooked. It could come over. It could drop the guy. It could get killed. Anything could happen,” said one woman.

“And who loses? It’s the people in the community that could have been injured and those horses that could have been injured and no one’s speaking for them,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said.

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When this happened, there was a lot of speculation that it was in retaliation for the city not allowing dirt bike riders on the streets — but several city officials say they do not believe that was the case.