Petitioning Mayor of Sacramento, CA Kevin Johnson and 13 others

Ban Inhumane & Unlawful Horse-Drawn Carriages in Sacramento, CA

Thank you for your interest in protecting horses who are forced to pull carriages.

What may seem like a “nostalgic,” “romantic” or “fun” ride on a horse-drawn carriage is anything but for the horse forced to pull the carriage. Horse-drawn carriage rides in urban settings are increasingly recognized as unsafe and inherently inhumane for the horses, and many cities around the globe have banned them from their streets. Those cities have rightly recognized that the welfare of horses and public safety are unnecessarily put at risk by this outdated and inhumane form of entertainment and that there is nothing romantic, fun or nostalgic about riding a horse-drawn carriage on a busy city street as cars, buses, trucks and motorcycles roar by.

Unfortunately, the City of Sacramento, California is one city that still jeopardizes the welfare of horses and puts public safety at risk by having a horse-drawn carriage attraction in its ‘Old Sacramento’ district. Working Animal Advocates, a Northern California non-profit, has extensively documented inhumane and unlawful conditions that exist for the horses pulling carriages in the City. For these horses, even simple necessities—such as shaded rest on hot days, water breaks and a safe environment— are routinely denied. The traffic, pollution, noise and paved streets of Old Sacramento are not a healthy or humane environment for horses, and their fate is made all the worse when even the modest laws enacted to protect them are not followed by carriage operators or enforced by the City.

These horses have no voice to raise to protect themselves, and all too often the only voices heard are those of the carriage operators and others within the horse industry. Please be a voice for them by signing our petition to end the inhumane and unlawful carriage rides in Sacramento, California.

Please see http://www.workinganimal.org for more info.

Letter to
Mayor of Sacramento, CA Kevin Johnson
Executive Director, Old Sacramento Business Association Christopher McSwain
Sacramento City Manager John Shirey
and 11 others
Interim Director, City of Sacramento Convention, Culture & Leisure Department Rebecca Bitter
Administrative Officer, City of Sacramento Convention, Culture & Leisure Department Leslie Wisniewski
Sacramento City Council Member, District 8 Bonnie Pannell
Sacramento City Council Member, District 7 Darrell Fong
Sacramento City Council Member, District 6 Kevin McCarty
Sacramento City Council Member, District 5 Jay Schenirer
Sacramento City Council Member, District 4 Steve Hansen
Sacramento City Council Member, District 3 Steve Cohn
Sacramento City Council Member, District 2 Allen Warren
Sacramento City Council Member, District 1 Angelique Ashby
Events and Promotions, Old Sacramento Business Association Sureena Johl
Working Animal Advocates, a Northern California based group dedicated to raising awareness about the conditions of working animals and to advocate on their behalf, has spent months documenting the working conditions of the horses in Old Sacramento, including horses pulling carriages in 90+ degree temperatures, navigating congested traffic conditions, breathing in exhaust fumes for prolonged periods of time and pounding hard city streets that are damaging to their legs and feet. In sum, the working conditions for horses pulling carriages in Sacramento are inhumane. Further, a review of public records has revealed an almost complete failure of the City to enforce even the minimal laws it has passed to protect the welfare of these horses. Due to these failures and the inherent risks to the safety and welfare of the horses and public of having horse-drawn carriages in urban settings, the City should ban horse-drawn carriages from the busy streets of Old Sacramento.

Sacramento’s carriage operators consistently put the safety of the horses and public in jeopardy by violating several city codes, including not providing mandated rest periods with access to water and shade, working horses in 100°F temperatures, relying on a thermometer that does not comply with regulations, trotting horses at a fast pace, and violating a number of basic traffic laws. Please see http://www.workinganimal.org/ for more information, including photos and videos documenting the inhumane conditions and code violations.

In addition, there are inescapable risks to horses and the public created by horse-drawn carriages in urban settings. Every year dozens of people and horses are injured or killed in carriage accidents in the U.S. In recent years, there have been two incidents in Old Sacramento in which horses were attacked and injured by dogs, including one incident that resulted in the dog being shot and killed. And in 2009, a carriage was struck by a car in a hit-and-run accident, totaling the carriage and causing injury to the horse, carriage operator and two passengers. Given the current conditions in which horse-drawn carriages operate in Old Sacramento, it is only a matter of time before another dangerous incident occurs.

The need for a ban of horse-drawn carriages in urban settings has been recognized by scores of cities, including Reno, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Camden NJ, Palm Beach, Key West, Biloxi, Toronto, Beijing, London and Paris, which have all banned horse-drawn carriage rides. Given the inhumane realities inherent to the activity and Sacramento’s inability to enforce its carriage code regulations, horse-drawn carriages should likewise be eliminated in California’s Capitol City.

There is nothing romantic or nostalgic about riding a horse-drawn carriage down a paved road as cars, buses, trucks and roaring motorcycles pass by. Public safety and the welfare of the horses are harmed by this outdated and inhumane form of entertainment.

Please promote a humane, responsible and compassionate tourist economy, as many other cities have done, by banning horse-drawn carriages from the busy city streets of Old Sacramento.