Heat halts carriage tours for first time in 2017

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Anyone hoping to see Charleston via carriage horse Wednesday afternoon had their dreams dashed by the summer heat.

City officials ordered carriage horses off the roads at approximately 2:42 p.m. after four consecutive readings of 95 degrees or more from a thermometer placed atop a hotel on Market Street.

The horses were cleared to return back to service at 4 p.m., but carriage companies elected to remain closed the rest of the day.

Tommy Doyle, General Manager of Palmetto Carriage Works, says the new heat ordinance that went into effect in March will force them to close several more days than previous years.

“The South Carolina summer,” said Tommy Doyle, “we’ve got some that can handle it and some that can’t.”

Under the ordinance, horses can return to duty after two consecutive readings below 95 degrees.

“The City of Charleston still has the harshest conditions that we know,” said Kurt Taylor, Director of Government Relations at the Charleston Animal Society.

Taylor says he and other advocates are glad to see legislation improving the animals conditions, still believes they can be more humane.

“Every place else in the world measures their temperature as it happens and if it hits 95 degrees then the animals should stop working,” said Taylor, “that’s why we believe there is a fallacy.”

Back over at Palmetto Carriage Works, Tommy Doyle says the carriage industry is experiencing a perception problem and the issues are not like what others claim.

“There’s always going to be naysayers,” said Doyle, “all I can do is encourage you to come down and take a look.”

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