Humane Society wants horse-drawn carriages off city streets

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21 2013 9:58 a.m. MDT

"Anytime something like this happens, it increases the dialogue and allows for people to really start talking about what needs to be done," he said.

Currently, city ordinance prohibits horse-drawn carriages from operating when there's a heat index of 150 degrees or higher. The heat index is a combination of actual temperature and humidity. Luke said the effectiveness of the ordinance is something the City Council will explore.

"I think a 150 degree index is unrealistic," he said. "If we're going to have something in ordnance, I think it makes sense to have something that reflects reality."

Luke said the City Council is in the early stages of examining the ordinance.

"I don't think people are going to stay away from Salt Lake City if the carriages were not around," he said. "I don't think people come to Salt Lake City specifically for the carriage. I think it does add some ambiance right now, but all of those things will be taken into account."

Beckham said regulations won't fix the problem. He said horse-drawn carriages don't belong on the streets of Salt Lake City.

"Regulations can't redefine the nature of our urban landscape," he said. "They can't change the nature of a horse, which is a large animal that scares easily. There are just some factors that are really beyond the City Council's control that make it so that horse-drawn carriages, no matter what we try to do to regulate the practice, it'll always have very serious problems associated with it."

Don Porter, acting director for South Salt Lake Animal Services, said Carriage for Hire, which has operated since 1987, did not violate any regulations. Animal services also has not had any previous concerns about the company, he said.

Arky said horses on the streets pose a risk to the horses as well as the public.

In 2009, a family of seven was taking a ride in a horse-drawn carriage when the horse became spooked and took off running. The horse eventually ran into a parked car. No one was seriously injured.

Another incident happened in April, when some kids were taunting a horse pulling a carriage by throwing wads of paper at the animal. The carriage was waiting at a light when the horse eventually spooked, bucked and tipped the carriage over into a bus. No one was injured, but traffic was delayed for about an hour.

email: eeagar@deseretnews.com

Twitter: EmileeEagar

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