City recommending change to ordinance following horse’s death

Updated: Jul. 22, 2020 at 8:53 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston could be amending its ordinance on carriage tour horses to include new safety measures.

This comes after Sunday’s incident where a horse took off running attached to an empty carriage.

Ervin, a draft horse who had been with the Old South Carriage Company since 2018, sustained injuries on its legs and had to be euthanized.

Investigators with the city’s Department on Livability and Tourism determined that the actions of two employees who were detaching the horse’s tack from the carriage allowed the horse to break free.

“It was determined that the individual had removed the bridle. That is a control measure to control the horse and should be one of the last things that should be taken off before the carriage is removed or after the carriage is removed and that wasn’t done,” Charleston Livability Director Dan Riccio said.

Although Riccio says the horse's handlers didn't violate the city's criminal ordinance, he says they are recommending updating a city ordinance to add additional safety measures.

"We would draft an ordinance to suggest that companies would be required to use a 'cross tie' method which consists of two ropes that are fixed to both sides of the halter of the horse," Riccio said. "If they forget something in the process, there's a safety measure in place to prevent that horse from running away from them."

Charleston C.A.R.E.S released a statement about the incident to Live 5 News saying:

“The entire carriage community is still heartbroken from the loss of Ervin earlier this week. The safety of our horses, staff, and guests is and always will be our number one priority. We have identified additional safety measures that can be implemented to prevent an accident like the one that occurred Sunday night. In the coming days we plan to implement significant improvements on how we hitch and unhitch the carriage and we fully support those changes being made to the city ordinance.”

The amended ordinance would first need to be approved by the city’s tourism commission before moving to city council for a vote.

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