Bill to ban horse carriage ride in St. Louis city could see changes

The St. Louis Board of Aldemen is scheduled to perfect a proposal that would ban horse-drawn carriages on city streets during their regularly scheduled meeting Friday, but the language in that bill could soon change.

Bill no. 129 states it would be unlawful for, “any person to ride, walk or otherwise lead a horse or horses on, along or over the public streets, alleys and sidewalks within the City of St. Louis and the paths and trails, and any extensions thereof within the City of St. Louis.”

The aldermen approved the proposal in committee to ban horse-drawn carriages on city streets last month.

The one-page bill sponsored by Alderman Joe Vaccaro was read for a second time to the full board last week. But since then a measure was introduced in the state Senate that sought to “preempt” any local ordinance involving working animals, making Vaccaro’s proposal inept.

A Senate committee in Jefferson City voted in favor of the bill’s modified version on Wednesday. It would still outlaw any local ordinances banning working animals as part of a business, but it allows cities to adopt “reasonable rules and regulations” governing horses. The new version also mirrors the St. Louis proposal’s language about exempting mounted police, parades and “public celebrations.”

Vaccaro has said he would rewrite his proposal to in order to be able to regulate the horse carriage industry without banning it in the city altogether.

The bill to ban all horse-carriage rides has support from animal-rights advocates who say the industry and those that run it are harmful to the animals. On the other side of the spectrum, carriage companies say the plan is being reacted to too harshly by a small group of city officials.

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