How hot is too hot for horses to pull carriages? Savannah sets regulations

Savannah City Council members are laying down the law to improve the treatment of carriage horses.

This week, council members approved amendments to the city’s horse-drawn carriage regulation ordinance, so now carriage horses will no longer be able to operate in downtown Savannah when temperatures are above 95 degrees or the heat index reaches above 110 degrees. Before this week, carriage horses could operate until temperatures reached 98 degrees.

Under new regulations, horses also require a 15 minute break after each tour and their temperature must be taken between tours when it’s above 85 degrees.

The ordinance also states that horses must be hosed down with cold water at the end of their route. Signs of heat exhaustion must immediately be addressed and the horse returned to its stable.

If a horse carriage company violates the policy it can be issued a citation. If a company receives more than 5 citations in a 30 day period, they could be fined more than $500.

Charleston City Council members also recently changed Charleston’s horse-drawn carriage regulations in March, prohibiting carriage tours any time the temperature rises above 95 degrees. The city was recently under scrutiny after a horse collapsed mid-tour in April.

The City of Beaufort’s regulations for horse drawn carriages are much more vague, stating only that horses can’t operate under “extreme heat conditions.”