City to look at overhaul of carriage laws this week


SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – They are a tourist favorite, but the laws governing horse-drawn carriages in Savannah have not been updated since the 1970s.

Each summer complaints come in about horses in the heat. Right now, the city of Charleston is dealing with public concern from one horse allegedly collapsing from heat.

“If there is something we can learn from something like that you best believe that we are working on it.”

The policy in place to keep the heat off of horses and the city could be changing.

“We’re taking the policy and making sure that it’s in the ordinance so that it’s a comprehensive document so that when people have questions about what are the standards for our community, it’s a one stop shop and you can just go to the code and find it,” says the city’s tourism and ambassadorship department director Bridget Lidy.

The city will lower its heat limit policy from 98t to 95 degrees with the heat index not exceeding 110. That’s when horses have to be off the street.

“I think this is great this is something we are on board with completely.”

The changes reigned in the support of all of the carriage tours including Cara Marshall’s.

“I think everybody wins with this ordinance and I also think it’s a great way to educate.”

Monitoring the horse’s internal temps will be added into the law. Other changes included limiting only ten passengers to a tour as well as no more after midnight tours south of Liberty and east of Lincoln Street.

Below is a short list of revisions included in the new law:

  • Revisions to strengthen the vehicle inspection and commercial decal process (Section 6-1565)
  • Revisions to include additional safety equipment on the carriage (Section 6-1569)
  • Revisions to prevent the horse and carriage from being left unattended in horse-drawn carriage stands (Section 6-1575)
  • Addition of a structured training program for the tour guide driving the carriage and horse (Section 6-1586)
  • Addition of a certificate of serviceability to verify the animal’s health is in good standing with a licensed veterinarian (Section 6-1590)
  • Revisions to include additional standards for the care of horses (Section 6-1593)

It’s a law that hasn’t been changed in decades.

“It was originally done in 1977, we’re now in 2017,” says Lidy.

Lidy believes the changes will be more progressive than what’s happening in neighboring cities. They plan to keep reviewing the law every three years to make changes if needed.

“So it’s time for change, this is a good change, and we’re looking forward to showing everybody that we’re on board with it and that we’re happy about it,” says Marshall.

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