The veterinarian who wrote a series of new proposals on management of the horses that pull carriages through Alamo Plaza says they will place San Antonio at the top when it comes to taking good care of animals in its control, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"I believe that if the changes are implemented by City Council, we will have as animal friendly a city code as is possible," said Dr. Ben Espy, an equine veterinarian who worked with city officials and the carriage industry to fashion a series of recommendations which will be made to City Council tomorrow.
They include limits on the number of people who can be in the carriages the horses pull, a rule that horses can only work eight hours a day and have an uninterrupted 16 hours of rest between shifts, and that horses will not work at all when the temperature is above 96 degrees.
Espy says the rules are not that much different than those that protect human city employees who work outdoors.
Despite periodic complaints from self-important 'animal rights' groups, Espy says pulling the carriage is not too difficult a task for the large horses which are seen around Alamo Plaza.
"The draft breed has been bred and is historically able to pull farm implements," he said. "The physical ability of the horse to pull the carriage is not in question."
Espy says the horses represent a major investment by the carriage operators. He says most are shod specifically by Amish groups in the Beeville area, they are large, expensive animals to buy, and are even more expensive to maintain.
"They are consuming 25 to 50 pounds of food a day," he said.
The new regulations will also suspend carriage operations during 'Air Quality Health Alert' days, and will require the hoses get a 10 minute break between rides around Alamo Plaza.
The new proposals are expected to be approved.