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Late Saturday evening, a car ran into the rear of a horse-drawn carriage in downtown St. Augustine. According to a police department spokesperson, the horse “took off running” but was not injured. (The carriage drivers were not as lucky and suffered unspecified injuries.)

For many years, ARFF has argued that horses do not belong on St. Augustine’s busy streets. Unfortunately, despite several accidents over the years involving horse-drawn carriages, our pleas have been ignored.

Please contact the Mayor and urge him to follow the lead of other progressive cities and enact an ordinance prohibiting horse-drawn carriages, ensuring the safety of both horses and people.

Contact:
Mayor Joseph Boles
City of St. Augustine
E-mail: cosa@aug.com

Perhaps St. Augustine can look north for guidance? At yesterday’s meeting of the New York City Council a bill was introducted that states, “It shall be unlawful to offer rides to the public on a vehicle drawn or pulled by a carriage horse.” The bill to ban carriage horses from NYC streets follows the death of a carriage horse in a September accident. Councilman Tony Avella, who introduced the bill, explained, “This situation is only getting worse - the animals are not being treated properly, and enough is enough. Horses are incompatible with traffic.” (Notes of thanks can be sent to Councilman Avella at: avella@council.nyc.ny.us)

2 Responses to “Horse escapes injury in St. Augustine carriage accident”

  1. on 16 Dec 2008 at 8:34 pm Kelly Arnold

    Two horse-drawn carriages were damaged Monday night on Avenida Menendez after an accident witnesses blame on an SUV that struck the rear of one of the carriages and then drove off.

    The driver of a silver-gray SUV apparently struck the rear of a horse and carriage carrying two passengers as it went by the line where carriage drivers wait for customers on the bayfront.

    The crash spooked a second horse in the line that ran across all four lanes of traffic and turned in the reverse direction. The horse hit a utility pole and broke free from his carriage. He was quickly captured.

    Only the driver was in the second carriage. Neither the horses nor the people were injured, according to witnesses and the St. Augustine Police Department.

    St. Augustine Police reportedly were looking for the SUV.

    Witnesses at the site said there was “no way” the SUV driver was following the speed limit.

    Traffic was blocked for a time while the scene was cleared and the carriages towed.

    Please get your facts straight. Should we ban cars? How about just SUVs? How about, we ban drivers who speed? Drivers who drink? People who don’t get their facts straight…that would be a great ban.

    It was an accident. Had the driver not hit a carriage, he may have hit a car, or a pedestrian or a bicycler…should we ban them too?

  2. on 22 Dec 2008 at 12:22 am Della Dean

    I personally have worked with the horses and carriages in St. Augustine. The biggest problem is not the carriages. The problem comes from some impatience from motorists, some drunkenness, some confusion (one way streets, streets that have more than one name, and sudden speed changes), and some simple distractions that every driver faces. Most of the accidents involving horse-drawn carriages in St. Augustine happen on Avenida Menendez otherwise known as Bayfront and U.S. 1 Business. The cars come speeding around the blind turns and do not see the slow moving carriages until it is too late.
    Also: Please do not believe that the horses are mistreated or that the carriages should be banned. The horses are not mistreated, they are cared for by people that love working with horses. Each horse is given a special diet uniquely put together to provide each horse the nutrients it needs. The carriages are not overly heavy, I can easily pull the carriages myself (I weigh about 180, female, and cannot lift a 30lb weight bar) the drivers and barn staff are constantly moving the carriages in and out the barn by themselves (ie no horse). The wheels of the carriages a designed to make the carriage easy to pull and the shape distributes the weight. Most of the horses pulling carriages in St. Augustine used to pull Amish plows so the carriages are like a small job to give them purpose. Otherwise they would be auctioned off. And by the way, most horses being auctioned are sold to meat plants because the economy is so bad, other people (those who rescue the horses) cannot afford to buy, feed, and maintain horses. So you decide: horses pull carriages or horses become your dogs food. Either way it can be looked down upon as harmful to the horse. What are you going to do? Take in every horse? Not possible. Let them work that way at least decent horses are not being sent off to meat plants to become dog food.
    One last note: If people did not want the carriages in St. Augustine, they wouldn’t go for a ride that costs $60 or more. But they do. Otherwise the carriages wouldn’t exist in the first place because the people running the business would have gone out of business. The city is not going to just throw away part of the tourist industry just because animal rights advocates say the horses are mistreated and the carriages are a danger. In doing so the city would lose a substantial amount of tourists that visit St. Augustine primarily for the carriage rides. It would be a bad business move on the city’s part to alienate the tourists, especially with the economy the way it is. So take your animal rights movement where it is really needed which is not with the horse-drawn carriages of St. Augustine.

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