The B.C. SPCA is recommending a ban on horse-drawn trolleys, and asking that carriage tours be limited to quite city areas. (Canadian Press photo)

UPDATE: BC SPCA recommends ban of horse-drawn carriages from downtown Victoria streets

Letter to city council cites accident at Ogden Point that caused horses to fall

The BC SPCA wants Victoria council to ban horse-drawn carriages from city streets and limit their operations to a “safer park environment.”

In a letter to council to be discussed at committee of the whole this Thursday (June 7), the organization cites a May 4 incident at Ogden Point, where two horses used by Victoria Carriage Tours accidentally fell to the ground when their trolley came in contact with a bus. The letter states that the horses were “in significant stress for more than five minutes.”

A video of the incident caused public alarm, with BC SPCA and animal activists saying workers were not properly trained to handle the situation, as they didn’t immediately remove the harnesses impeding the horses’ mobility.

ALSO READ: Horse-drawn carriage, trolley tour company facing backlash over Ogden Point incident

“The operator also failed to disclose the length of time it took handlers to adequately assess the situation, remove the harnesses, and successfully help the horses to their feet,” the letter reads. “It is decidedly troubling that Victoria Carriage Tours chose to inappropriately downplay a serious incident which put the public at risk.”

The BC SPCA recommends that the operation of horse-drawn vehicles on “traffic-congested” city streets be prohibited to “mitigate the significant risks,” with tours limited to quiet areas around parks.

“We have gone above and beyond The City of Victoria and SPCA oversight and regulations. I am concerned with the recommendations to prohibit trolley teams in Victoria. Such measures would take away opportunity to assist in training new horses how to do the job,” said Victoria Carriage Tours in a written statement.

“Whether it is a seasoned horse or younger one having a team mate thru [sic.] the streets builds confidence and familiarity giving the horse tools for the job so when they transition to single carriage we have a well balanced happy safe horse : as we can attest to with zero horses or human ever harmed in 15 years. This one incident cannot reflect the whole, not with horses.”

READER POLL: Do you agree with BC SPCA’s recommendation to ban horse-drawn carriages from downtown Victoria streets?

Victoria Carriage Tours also said that the Ogden Point incident was an anomaly in their 15-year business, and that their horses were unharmed. They implemented two new policies after reviewing the video, including a rule to immediately remove the harnesses in the case of a fall, and to never travel that route without a flagger.

Tally-Ho Tours is the other carriage tour company in Victoria, and while it wasn’t involved in the Ogden Point Incident, any changes to the industry would strongly affect its business.

“The carriage industry in Victoria has a strong tradition of working cooperatively with the BC SPCA and the City of Victoria regarding oversight and regulation of our industry,” The Tally-Ho company said in a written statement. “We are confused how safety recommendations suddenly jump to a statement that that potentially puts our business at risk.”

It was further said in the statement that Tally-Ho follows a series of guidelines found in a 70-page manual, which was provided to City Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe for the 2018 season. They add that the industry’s safety record is “outstanding” citing a 0.00001 per cent incident rate over the last 20 years.

The BC SPCA also recommends limiting such vehicles to one-horse carriages, a move that would essentially ban trolleys that require two horses. “The introduction of this condition would reduce public safety concerns and decrease the risk of injury to a horse should another incident occur.”

RELATED: B.C. city considers tighter reins on horse-drawn carriage tours

Additionally, BC SPCA recommends that the horse carriage industry establish standard operating procedures and emergency management plans for urgent situations; that they create a report form for carriage handlers to fill out after any incident, and that they require each operator to have an emergency kit for each vehicle including an extra halter, four traffic cones and first aid kits for both people and horses.

A motion to be discussed at this week’s committee meeting asks for receipt of the correspondence and a request that City staff report back with advice on how best to consider the recommendations.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

 

The B.C. SPCA is recommending a ban on horse-drawn trolleys on downtown streets, and asking that carriage tours be limited to quieter areas around parks. (News file photo) The B.C. SPCA is recommending a ban on horse-drawn trolleys on downtown streets, and asking that carriage tours be limited to quieter areas around parks. (News file photo)

Just Posted

THE FIERY FLAMENCO: Annual festival set to heat up Victoria

Performances free and ticketed, plus workshops, highlight celebration of the dance

Emily Carr String Quartet set for summer concert in Sooke

Sooke Harbour House concert on July 29

31st annual TD Art Gallery Paint-In promises something for every taste in art, food

Moss Street from Fort to Dallas will be covered, with artists, vendors, and attendees this July 21

ARTISTS TOUR: Follow the fish to Metchosin and East Sooke

Stinking Fish group presents its annual summer studio tour July 27-31

WHAT’S ON TAP: Howl Brewing joins the pack of local craft beer operations

Monday beer columnist Matt Poirier checks out a new microbrewer in North Saanich

WATCH: Trades workers brought into spotlight at Victoria’s Inner Harbour

Sheet metal, roofing apprentices compete for national bragging rights

Black Press videographer to direct full-length feature, wins Telefilm grant worth $125,000

Arnold Lim to expand story of All-In Madonna with writer Susie Winters, producer Ana de Lara

Five fun things to do this weekend

From a paint in to festivals, there are lots of fun events taking place this weekend

Saanich Fair: An idea is born

The attaining of a 150th year anniversary is a notable event in… Continue reading

Reviews are in for B.C.-shot ‘Skyscraper’ action movie

City’s film liaison recalls four days of filming at city hall last fall, with Dwayne Johnson on set

B.C. singer up against Shania Twain for Canadian country music award

Madeline Merlo and Shania Twain are two of five nominees for female artist of the year.

Nicolas Cage films in B.C. town

Hollywood actor filming A Score to Settle in North Okanagan

Canadian actress Sandra Oh makes Emmys history with ‘Killing Eve’ nomination

Oh made history as the first Asian woman to be nominated for an Emmy Award for lead actress in a drama series.

Mexican culture comes alive during Festival Mexicano

Free two-day festival happens this weekend in Victoria’s Centennial Square

Most Read