As is documented by police and Tourism department records since 2016 there have been over 120 carriage-related incidents. Drivers thrown off, children injured, property damage, equipment failure. A recent incident, sending an elderly passenger and the driver to the hospital, leaving the horse without a driver, is just the most recent example of the need for a comprehensive Carriage Safety Ordinance. 

After the tragic death in August 2020 of Ervin, a beautiful, young horse that spooked and ran through neighborhoods with a half-hitched wagon resulting in a fatal injury, Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates presented to City Council a model Comprehensive Carriage Safety ordinance drafted by local attorneys. 

Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates came as a grass roots non-profit in good faith. We thought this would be an opportunity to present in full context both the need for a comprehensive safety ordinance and a sincere effort to address serious safety issues surrounding a mode of transportation whose “engine” is a prey animal in a crowded urban environment. Instead, the Tourism Commission met our ordinance proposal with contempt at every turn. They even gutted the City’s own Safety ordinance proposal! 

 So what was did this Administration do? They put it last on a 126-item City Council agenda that included hot issues like school mask mandates and a racial reconciliation report. 

The Preservation Society and Charleston Animal Society asked City Council to postpone the vote on the gutted ordinance proposal to allow for public input. But members of City Council and our esteemed mayor insisted on ramming it through. Once again, tourism trumped citizens. 

City Council could still amend the gutted safety ordinance proposal to enact common sense protections for children, citizens, visitors and animals. The mayor and City Council have an opportunity to protect the lives of the public and animals as befits a world-class city. Or they can turn their backs from their primary duty to protect the public and vote for the tourism-friendly ordinance. 

Call/email City Council and the mayor. Tell them you’ve had enough.

Please click the button below to send an automated email to Charleston’s City Council which urges them to Pass an ordinance that includes common sense safety measures such as a policy that requires wagon companies to conduct routine random drug testing of wagon drivers and child safety measures like those in the City’s original safety proposal.

Stay with us. Speak up for animal safety. We need you.