ST. LOUIS — The long-debated issue of horse-drawn carriages on St. Louis streets has resurfaced as the businesses lack enforcement of regulations.
Local attorney Dan Kolde recently saw a horse slowly pulling a carriage among the sea of cars during rush hour, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/2rK80ui ) reported. He contacted the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission to ask why they weren’t enforcing a city rule that prevents horse carriages from running during rush hour.
Commission officials said it was no longer enforcing any regulations regarding the carriages due to a judge’s order. The city itself wasn’t enforcing them because it had an agreement that left it up to the commission.
“I’m like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ I thought we had this resolved,” said Kolde, who has long pressed the city about the horse-carriage issue on behalf of a group called the St. Louis Animal Rights Team. “You wouldn’t let me drive my car around with no insurance or training. It’s unsafe for the public, and it’s unsafe for the horses.”
City Alderman Scott Ogilvie said it may be time to revisit the issue.
“I’m suddenly wondering if we need carriage horses downtown in traffic, especially since no one is enforcing any rules,” Ogilvie tweeted Monday.
Animal-rights activists say pulling carriages in urban settings is harmful to the animals. Carriage operators say it doesn’t hurt the horses and that they’re providing a nostalgic tourism service for the community.
A pending court fight also is pitting the city government against the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission, which was created by the Legislature to regulate “vehicles for hire” in St. Louis and St. Louis County. Each entity claims the other should be enforcing the city’s carriage rules.
The rules include restrictions on when the carriages can function and a ban on working the horses when the heat index is 100 degrees or higher.