ST. LOUIS - Horse-drawn carriages aren't allowed to give rides during rush hour in the City of St. Louis, but no one is enforcing that rule. A Memorandum of Understanding between the City of St. Louis and the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission says MTC has the authority to regulate horse-drawn carriages when it comes to rules of the road.
In May, Daniel Kolde, a lawyer representing the St. Louis Animal Rights Team, noticed a carriage operating downtown during rush hour.
"My client is extremely frustrated and I'm frustrated for my client you know they fought very hard to get these regulations in place and to see everybody ignore them was just very, very frustrating for all of us," Kolde said.
MTC said it's not regulating street rules right now because of a pending lawsuit. Several months ago, MTC issued Brookdale Farms a citation for allegedly running a carriage without licensed operators and for operating on days that were too hot. The carriage company took MTC to court in St. Louis County. A hearing is scheduled for June 15, 2017. In the meantime, a county judge issued an order blocking MTC's authority to enforce street rules.
"Our primary goals are the safety of passengers in vehicles for hire, and the dependability and predictability of fares," MTC director Ron Klein said. "We believe the city and the county do have the authority to enforce their own ordinances, and we believe they may legally delegate some of that authority to MTC. The subject is being litigated. The judge has stayed the MTC's enforcement of the ordinances. There is a status hearing scheduled later this month."
The city says it wasn't informed of the change. A spokesperson sent 5 On Your Side the following statement:
"The city's Department of Health is responsible for the health and welfare of the horses. That has not changed. Anyone wishing to report an animal in distress can call (314) 622-4800 during business hours or 911 after hours."
Kolde says he wants regulations back in place as soon as possible.
"I'd like to see the City and the Taxicab Commission get this resolved and figure out at least to start with getting the regulations back in place and fully enforced so that the public and the safety - the horses are protected," he said. "With all the traffic down here, if a car would hit a horse, or a horse would get spooked and run into a car, it's going to be dangerous. There has been an accident in the past with injuries, with one of these carriages during rush hour. So, you know, it's just not safe."
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