FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM)–A discussion about an ordinance, passed in April, packed Frederick City Hall Thursday night. People came to voice their opinions about how much rest horses that pull carriages should receive.
The ordinance stated the horses would receive rest after two hours of work, as opposed to four hours of work. Many animal rights activists preferred this change.
“If you look up what our sister cities do, Philly, Chicago, they all offer 15 minutes of rest period for every hour of work, which is the equivalent of what we’re doing . We’re just doing it in two hour chunks and a longer break,” said Michael Boyer, a animal rights activist.
However, the Lambert family that runs the horse drawn carriage rides, say it’s actually better if the horses work for four hours before they receive a 30 minute break.
“Horses are just like athletes, just like somebody who runs track and field. once you’re body gets nice and warm, you don’t want them to get cold on you and start all over again,” said Donnie Lambert.
At the hearing there were people who spoke on both sides of the argument and the Board of Alderman realized the language in the April ordinance was vague and didn’t define what rest and work was for the horses.
“Once we have that clarity, the lamberts will make whatever decision they need to make in order to run their business, but we have to provide some clarity,” said Michael O’Connor, Frederick mayor.
The board voted to define rest as whenever two of the wheels for the carriage are chocked – meaning stopped with a barrier – and defined work as when the horse is pulling people or goods. The board also stated the horses must receive a minimum of 30 minutes rest within a two hour period and water should be given to the horses at each stop to load and unload passengers.
“We wanted to reach a compromise and make sure that all parties that were involved, the key stakeholders, that this was an easy way or best way to reach a compromise,” said Roger Wilson, from the Board of Alderman.