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Horse carriage regulations are sorely needed

Jane Garrison
357 Anchor Circle, Charleston

I would like to clear up the inaccuracies in Tom Doyle's recent letter to the Post & Courier regarding Charleston's carriage horse industry.

Mr. Doyle claims that the Charleston carriage horse industry has an unblemished record and implied that the industry is unfairly burdened with restrictions regarding the care and treatment of horses. In actuality, the city of Charleston has no enforceable regulations regarding the care and treatment of horses used by this industry nor is there a system in place to track any incidents of abuse, neglect, or premature deaths of horses. Currently, heat restrictions are completely voluntary and other care and treatment issues, including stall size and carriage weight, are not addressed at all. Unlike Charleston - most cities that use carriage horses, including Savannah, New Orleans, Dallas, and Austin, have enacted city ordinances that mandate minimum standards of care for horses being used by the carriage horse industry.

When used by this industry, horses are forced to constantly inhale deadly car fumes and pull heavy loads in bitter cold and scorching heat. Despite the risk of dehydration, horses are often denied sufficient water for the sole purpose of minimizing unsightly messes. The horses' hooves and legs suffer from constant pounding on hard pavement and the stop/go work pattern puts them at risk for dangerous kidney problems. When they are not working, the horses are typically confined to stalls too small in which to lie down or even turn around.

I urge all Charleston residents to contact city council members and ask them to enact reasonable enforceable regulations which will hopefully improve the working and living conditions for these horses who, at the very least, deserve humane treatment while representing our city.