Savannah horse carriage law, heat policy under review

Savannah horse carriage law, heat policy under review


Carriage horses, in extreme heat. It's been a hot topic among city leaders for many years.

We spoke to carriage companies a few weeks ago, and now the City of Savannah may finally be updating their horse heat policy, along with a decades old ordinance.

City Market was a good day as far as heat goes on Friday, which is when the extreme heat has a lot of people worried about the horses.

Here's the thing: The horse heat policy is five years old but the ordinance on the books in the City of Savannah is almost 40 years old and in need of revision and updating.

“Currently the heat policy is not part of the horse carriage ordinance and the goal is to take the policy, codify it and make it part of the city ordinance,” said City Tourism Management Director Bridgit Lidy.

Residents like Tina Tirey sent me pictures of what they felt were horses in extreme heat, but Lidy says the city monitors the weather conditions and heat index. There have been no violations so far this year. 

A memo went out two weeks ago to city council, outlining the horse heat policy update. Last year, Savannah changed the policy to pull horses when it was 99 degrees and 120 degree heat index to 98 degrees and 110 heat index.

Compare Savannah's policy to Beaufort where they will not pull horses at 91 degrees or higher regardless of heat index, and in Charleston with a heat index of 125 degrees.

Savannah Animal Advocacy has a petition into the city right now asking for a ban on horse carriages, with 110,000 signatures.

“We are reaching out to the animal advocate groups to ensure they are part of the process and also consulting with the veterinarian who treats the animals for mounted police patrol horses to make sure it is in sync with what is happening in our community,” said Lidy. “I'm feeling very positive about the direction we are going and will have a very good end product.”

Liddy says the recommendations they gather will be taken to the Tourism Advisory Committee and then they will make any changes necessary and then hopefully have them before city council by the fall.

If you think the heat index may be too high and see any horse related concerns, contact the city's 311 hotline and ask for a check to be made.

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