City, police protect horses from rising temperatures

Extreme Savannah heat stops horses from working

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Horses in downtown Savannah face are just as vulnerable to heat as humans are, and the city of Savannah and Savannah Police Department both have measures in place to protect the animals from the oppressive summer.

The Savannah Police Department's mounted patrol unit changes their routine as the seasons change, especially during stints of oppressive heat like Wednesday and Thursday.

During the hottest time the day, the afternoon, the police department protects their horses from rising temperatures. Each horse is hosed down and brought inside a barn with plenty of fans. Sgt. Gene Lawhorn said the horses need a lunch break just like the actual officers do.

When it gets above 90 degrees, trainers with the mounted patrol start to monitor how much heat the horses are exposed to. They also change their patrol shift around. Instead of working during the afternoon, the horses will hit the downtown streets later in the day and stay later into the night.

By nearly every standard, these horses are officers of Savannah Police Department.

"These are not just our everyday pets. We treat them like that a lot and we baby them, but they are not our pets. They are considered our partners and we treat them like that," Lawhorn said. "We make sure that they are hydrated when they are working and they get water when they are out on the streets."

Also, many carriage tours take breaks throughout a hot afternoon for the horses because of both trainer choice and a city ordinance. The rule passed last year states a carriage horse cannot work out in heat 95 degrees or hotter.

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