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Carriage horses should be off the streets

Krista Robertson
541 Godfrey Park Place

Sir,
I just received an alarming phone call from my husband regarding the maximum temperature allowed by law before the carriage horses must stop running. He was greatly distressed, since the temperatures this week are the highest of the summer thus far, reaching the upper 90s with an extreme humidity level. He told me the horses looked as if they were ready to fall over.

I realize that the law states they can work in temperatures up to 98 degrees, and up to 125 degrees in the NOAA-defined Heat Index. But this is still ridiculous! As temperatures rise we are constantly being told, stay indoors, keep hydrated, etc. Well shouldn’t the same go for these poor horses. They are not only outdoors in this horrible heat but they are pulling carriages with up to twenty people at a time. Imagine if you or I were task with the same. For that matter consider, how drenched in perspiration you are after mowing you lawn in such conditions. The City Council needs to take a long look at the laws they have passed. From my perspective it looks very similar to animal abuse.

Your Comments:

Herewith National Weather Services comment for today and tomorrow. As the writer indicates, horses do not have to be taken off the streets until the temperature reaches 98 degrees. We have written many times - the temperature threshold should be lower, perhaps much lower.


Excessive Heat Warning
URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHARLESTON SC
412 AM EDT WED AUG 8 2007

...DANGEROUS HEAT TO CONTINUE ACROSS ALL OF SOUTHERN SOUTH
CAROLINA AND SOUTHEAST GEORGIA THROUGH THE END OF THE WEEK...

412 AM EDT WED AUG 8 2007

...EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING NOW IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM THIS MORNING
TO 9 PM EDT THIS EVENING...
...EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY MORNING
THROUGH THURSDAY EVENING...

THE EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM THIS
MORNING TO 9 PM EDT THIS EVENING. AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH REMAINS
IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY MORNING THROUGH THURSDAY EVENING.

HIGH TEMPERATURES THIS AFTERNOON WILL BE AROUND 102 DEGREES. THESE
TEMPERATURES COMBINED WITH HIGH LEVELS OF HUMIDITY WILL PRODUCE
DANGEROUS HEAT INDEX VALUES OF 114 TO 119 DEGREES...MAINLY DURING
THE AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING HOURS. A FEW LOCATIONS CLOSER TO
THE COAST INCLUDING NORTH CHARLESTON...WEST ASHLEY...JACKSONBORO...
BEAUFORT...SAVANNAH...RICHMOND HILL AND DARIN COULD SEE HEAT
INDICES BRIEFLY EXCEED 120 DEGREES FOR A PERIOD THIS AFTERNOON.
HEAT INDICES UP TO 110 DEGREES ARE EVEN EXPECTED AT THE BEACHES
TODAY.

THE DANGEROUSLY HOT AND HUMID WEATHER WILL CONTINUE ON THURSDAY...
WITH HEAT INDEX VALUES EXPECTED TO REACH AROUND 115 DEGREES.
BECAUSE OF THIS...AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR
ALL OF SOUTHERN SOUTH CAROLINA AND MUCH OF SOUTHEAST GEORGIA FOR
THURSDAY. ALL OF PARTS OF THIS WATCH MAY BE UPGRADED TO AN
EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING THIS AFTERNOON.

AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING MEANS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF
DANGEROUSLY HOT TEMPERATURES WILL OCCUR WITH HEAT INDICES
REACHING 115 DEGREES FOR AT LEAST TWO HOURS...WHEREAS A WATCH
MEANS THAT THESE CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE.

THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL
COMBINE TO CREATE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES
ARE LIKELY. DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS...STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED
ROOM...STAY OUT OF THE SUNSHINE...AND CHECK UP ON RELATIVES...
NEIGHBORS AND THE ELDERLY. NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN OR PETS IN A
CAR EVEN WITH THE WINDOWS ROLLED DOWN.


Posted by: Editor at August 8, 2007 04:29 PM

I realize that this topic has been rehashed numerous times, and my support falls with the laws as they are currently written. The horses are adequately monitored, and are taken off the streets at the proscribed 125 degrees heat index. I would like to point out that this is well below the 140 degrees with heat index recommendation
that is generally considered the upper limit - quoting Dr. Judy Marteniuk, Equine Extension Veterinarian, Michigan State University. The draft animals of Charleston are well-cared for. I spend much time in the Market and on the streets, and I would say that the greatest threat the animals face on a daily basis is overly aggressive auto drivers. Anyone concerned about the current treatment of the animals should already know that there is a standing invitation from all carriage operators to visit their barns and see first-hand how the animals are cared for. Take the time to learn what the animals are capable of, and you'll see them in a different light.

Posted by: Lee Roy Brandon III at August 9, 2007 01:25 PM

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