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City Council to Outlaw Horse-Drawn Carriages

The Salt Lake City council is poised to enact an all-in-out ban on horse-drawn carriages in the city. This comes after year-long discussion about how to properly regulate the business.

Public outrage over the August 2013 death of a horse named Jerry set the Salt Lake City Council in motion last fall. Members of the council began talking about protecting the safety of horses, pedestrians and driver’s downtown by tightening regulations on horse-drawn carriages. Some of the recommendations from city staff included limiting the number of hours a horse may work in a day and limiting business operations to a certain temperature range.

Salt Lake City Councilman Charlie Luke was at the forefront of those discussions. He says the council ultimately tabled those recommendations back in January.  

“One of the issues last year was the concern about doing something that could negatively impact an existing business and so, now that Carriages for Hire has closed its doors, we felt that it was an opportunity to make a decision without having a direct impact on an existing company and so that’s why we’ve brought it up again,” Luke says.

Carriage for Hire was the only company that would have been affected by the regulations. Luke says others have since expressed interest in providing the service but during a Tuesday work session the council unanimously decided to prohibit the business on city streets except for special events.

He says in the late 70’s, carriage rides became an attraction that the city hoped would bring people downtown.

“35 years later, it’s the 21st century,” Luke says. “We’ve had a lot of development. Density continues to increase downtown. Attracting people downtown isn’t the issue that it was 35 years ago.”

The city council is scheduled to take public comment and vote on the issue November 25th

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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