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A spooked horse tore off through the streets around the Charleston City Market before crashing into the historic market’s brick walls. This video shows the runaway horse with the driver and passengers on board, along with an excerpt from the 911 call that was placed. Charleston Animal Society believes Charleston is growing at a pace where the city’s congestion is making it more and more difficult for carriage tours to operate safely. Charleston Animal Society wants to work with city officials to produce common sense solutions regarding congestion, heat and the carriage loads tour animals must live with.
Charleston Animal Society wants a prospective, peer-reviewed, scientific study to answer the question: “What are humane conditions for working animals in Charleston?” For decades, the issue of what are humane conditions has lingered over the tourism landscape in the Holy City. A study from a major university or equine expert would answer these questions with independent authority. Relying on data that is supplied by the carriage industry (as is currently the City of Charleston’s practice) raises questions about the integrity of the system that is supposed to make the welfare of animals that lead these for-profit tours its top priority.
Click Here for the AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners) Study Endorsement
Click Here for the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Study Endorsement
Click Here for Humane Society of United States Study Endorsement
Click Here for Study Endorsement from Equine Expert Kenneth L. Marcella, DVM, AAT
Summary of Charleston Animal Society Carriage Animal Study Proposal
Lower the Maximum Temperature
The maximum temperature/heat index at which carriages must cease operating should be lower than 98⁰/125⁰ (heat index). When adopted (over objections from the Charleston Animal Society representative on the committee) the 98/125 threshold was supposed to be temporary while the issue was studied further. We are communicating with expert resources which can provide assistance in establishing a more appropriate heat limit.
Bring Official Thermometers to Ground Level
The “Official thermometer” should be relocated closer to street level in the Market area in order to measure the temperature in the actual environment in which the horses are operating. Right now, the official thermometers are located on top of the Dock Street Theatre and The Doubletree Hotel — far above the asphalt where carriage animals work.
Use Scales for Weighing Loads
The city should acquire and use appropriate scales to weigh carriages before each trip. Right now, carriages with passengers are not being weighed, despite a city ordinance requiring that carriage loads be monitored. Charleston Animal Society is willing to purchase a set of scales for the City’s use, so that the law can be enforced immediately.
Hours horses are working.
All horses and mules are microchipped.These chips should be read by city staff at the medallion gate at the beginning of each trip. Since city staff must keep logs of the issuance and return of medallions under City Code Section 29-208(c), reading the microchips could provide an additional level of accuracy and protection for individual horses/mule teams.
Monitor Construction Areas
The city should implement daily reroutes to prevent horses from coming across street and building construction noises. Also, hazards should be publicly posted. Charleston Animal Society also supports reviewing whether the number of carriages or carriage companies operating under franchise agreements with the City should be reduced, due to the dramatic increase in traffic in the historic district.
Improve Response to Carriage Incidents
Charleston Animal Society wants to insure there is
a rapid response triage team, to includes veterinarians, which can come quickly to the scene of accidents or incidents involving horses or mules.