On Tuesday, Charleston City Council approved an amendment to make changes to the rules for animal-drawn tour carriages.
The proposal would mean bringing the temperature in which the animals operate from 98 to 95 degrees, the heat index from 125 to 110 degrees, have four consecutive readings and change the primary thermometer to the one on top of the Doubletree Hotel.
With the amendment passing the first reading Tuesday night – it will go back to council for a second and third reading at their next council meeting.
This amendment passed the tourism commission last month.
City leaders say this is quite a milestone that it’s in front of city council because there haven’t been any changes made to the weather conditions for more than a decade (when the ordinance was first put in place).
"It's a real big deal. I'm excited about it,” Daniel Riccio, the Department of Livability and Tourism Director, said.
The carriage tours attract people from all over.
"It was awesome! We got to know a little bit of the history,” Kendall Jablonowski, who’s visiting from Texas, said.
Sandra Anderson, from Ottawa, Canada, added, “If I lived in the historic section, I might not like it because of all the tourists– but as a tourist I loved it."
City officials want to get this amendment in place before the season picks up.
And Riccio said they’re moving in the right direction.
Those with the carriage industry, however, said they don't really see a problem.
"The system that we're using today, and have been using for the last 15 years, has a 99.77 success rate. And my argument is show me another city or program that has that success,” Tommy Doyle, Palmetto Carriage Works General Manager, said.
Doyle added he does, begrudgingly, support the changes.
Those with the Charleston Animal Society, however, have a completely different view.
"We do not support this bill because it still leaves Charleston with the harshest, most inhumane and heaviest loads in the nation – the most extreme conditions in the nation. And that is something our community does not want,” Joe Elmore, Charleston Animal Society CEO, said. Elmore said they would like to have a “true scientific study to determine humane working conditions and a humane working environment for the horses.”
City officials say an ordinance like this has to have compromise – which they believe they arrived at with the amendment.