Animal rights activists say St. Louis shirking its responsibilities in regulating horse carriages

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Animal rights activists in St. Louis are crying foul over who keeps tabs on horse drawn carriages.

They say someone needs to take charge when it comes to regulating those rides.

The St. Louis Animals Rights Team says too many violations are occurring and that's they want either the city or the Metropolitan Taxi Commission to enforce regulations that are already in place.

But attorney Daniel Kolde representing the St. Louis Animals Rights Team says there is more to that type of entertainment than what the organization believes, meets the eye.

“They're not following any of the regulations that are supposed to be in place and there are regulations for public safety, there are also regulations in place that require inspections of the horses."

Kolde says, the Metropolitan Taxi Commission should be enforcing those regulations.

"They are transporting people for money and under the state statute so they're a taxi in our opinion."

But in a statement to FOX 2 the MTC says:

"We believe the city and the county do have the authority to enforce their own ordinances, and we believe they may legally delegate some of that authority to MTC."

Kolde says the horse carriage industry is not without its problems, adding that he is keeping a log of countless incidents and violations that not only put the horses at risk but also the public.

"Horses have been caught on video running the wrong way down Market Street, horses have died, there's been car accidents because they've been out here during rush hour and horse was let loose and ran into the Missouri river."

Meanwhile some local horse carriage companies that FOX 2 reached out to are coming to their own defense.

"We have to have one million dollars’ worth of insurance to even consider putting a carriage out there", Shannon Nickless with Claddagh Carriage Company.

Representatives for the Claddagh Carriage Company say they are cautious and practice all rules when it comes to not only the safety of the public but also the health of their horses.

"We don't send our horses out in extreme heat, the temperature has to be under 94, our horses typically work eight hours a day.”

These are large breed working horses, this is what they do, this is their purpose in life."

In a statement to FOX 2 the city says:

"The city's Department of Health is responsible for the health and welfare of the horses. That has not changed."

In the meantime, the attorney says he and the St. Louis animal rights team are reviewing their legal actions.

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