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Time to park carriage rides for good

POSTED: May 8, 2014 6:21 p.m.

Dear Editor:

How many injured horses and hospitalized people will it take before cruel and dangerous carriage operations are banned? In cities that still allow these rides, horses have been hurt, people have been airlifted for emergency medical treatment, and property has been damaged or destroyed — all in the last few months alone. Recently in Savannah, a horse pulling a carriage tour got spooked and ran for six blocks, ejecting the driver and tossing five passengers around. Five vehicles were damaged, and the driver and one passenger of the carriage were taken to the hospital with injuries.

Horses and traffic are a volatile mix. Horses can be easily spooked by common city noises such as car horns and screeching brakes. They shouldn’t have to be on-guard every minute, sidestepping cars, buses and impatient drivers. Georgia’s summer heat and humidity is challenging even for those of us who have air-conditioned cars and homes. The horses are forced to haul heavy loads on sweltering asphalt. Even the best-staffed animal control agency does not have the resources to properly monitor rides that go on all day long. Drivers work the horses until the last rider forks over the money, but the horses pay with their health and the lives they are meant to enjoy.

The time is long overdue to put these operations out to pasture for good.

Elaine Phillips
Pooler

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