Featured Image Credit: Mike Ledford/ Charleston City Paper
Horse carriage tours were taken off the streets two times on Thursday, August 18 due to high temperatures clocking in at 95 degrees and above. In March, an ordinance was passed by the city that lowered the heat limits for carriage horses to be on the streets to 95 degrees, three degrees lower than the original limit. These new temperature regulations were demanded by Charleston Animal Society, now they complain when they are followed.
The Charleston Animal Society is now accusing the carriage companies of using a “loophole.” They believe the carriage companies ignored protocol and kept the horses on the street for a full hour after the temperature was above 95 and took them back out within a half-hour of being stable.
That wasn’t the case.
Palmetto Carriage Works posted a statement on their Facebook page to provide some clarity on the situation: “Just a quick update about today. At around 11:50 am this morning we received word from the city that they had 4 consecutive temperature readings indicating 95 degrees. Following proper procedure, we stopped all carriage tours until we received further word from the City of Charleston.”
“At 12:50 pm we received word that the temperature had dropped below 95 degrees. At that time we also received clearance from the City of Charleston to resume tours. At 1:35 pm we received word that the temperature reading went back up to 95 degrees. Again following proper procedure we made sure that no new tours went out. All tours were off the street by 2:30 pm.”
A story released by ABC News 4 confirmed the carriage companies version of events: “City of Charleston spokesman Jack O’Toole confirms the horses were ordered off the streets Thursday at 11:50 a.m. and 1:35 p.m. After the first instance, it was 45 minutes before the horses were cleared to work again (12:35 p.m.). It was an hour and 10 minutes before the horses were allowed back to work after the second shutdown (2:44 p.m.), according to O’Toole.
So since when did abiding by the law become a “loophole?” The carriage companies followed regulations while completing their usual examinations and procedures on the horses, taking individual temperatures after every tour. The carriage companies want to ensure the safety of the horses and obey the City of Charleston regulations, something they have done for years and take very seriously.