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Too hot for horses? Downtown carriage companies face fines

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - St. Louis Health Department Officials say they cited a horse-drawn carriage company for operating in the heat

Friday afternoon at St. Louis Carriage Company, the carriages were off the streets and crews cooled down the horses for what they hoped will be a busy Friday evening.

Barn manager Amanda Schieffer said, “We hose them off several times a day. Some of them we switch out in front of the fans we have in the barn.”

St. Louis Health Department officials say they cited another horse and carriage company Friday, Brookdale Farms, for operating when it`s too hot.

St. Louis Health Director Melba Moore said, “A few years ago we passed an ordinance and we have a memorandum of understanding with the Missouri Taxi Commission which stipulates that when temperatures are 96 degrees and above or heat index is 100, the horses have to be taken back to the stables.”

However, an unidentified Brookdale Farms employee said they were not cited for such an offense. A Brookdale Farms employee also said they remove their horses from the streets at 95 degrees, a full degree short of city regulations.

“For their own safety,” said Moore. “They need to be hydrated, and it's hot. You've heard of the ‘heat island’ effect. And horses walking on the pavement—it’s just exhaustive. So we want to protect the horses’ health as well.”

Back at St. Louis Carriage Company, it`s even hotter in the barn. And Schieffer showed us several fans they use to help these farms animals cope with St. Louis summer.

Health department officials say violation of the city’s horse-heat regulations could result in a fine of up to $500.