British Columbia·Video

B.C. SPCA recommends horse-drawn carriages be removed from Victoria city streets

The B.C. SPCA wants the City of Victoria to ban horse-drawn carriages from city streets following an incident last month involving two horses who collapsed on the road.

After two horses fell at Ogden Point in May, the SPCA submitted a list of changes for the city to consider

The B.C. SPCA is recommending changes to the horse-drawn carriage operators in the city to make rides safer for horses and passengers.

The B.C. SPCA wants the City of Victoria to ban horse-drawn carriages from city streets following an incident last month involving two horses who collapsed on the road.

In a letter sent to council, the SPCA outlined recommendations to make the carriage rides safer for the horses and passengers.

Busy streets in touristy downtown Victoria aren't a safe environment for horses to be working according to Amy Morris, manager of public policy and outreach with the B.C. SPCA, so they've listed a number of changes for operators. 

"We recognize that traffic and congestion aren't going to change and so the risks to the horses aren't worth it — and the risk to the people in the case of an incident," Morris told All Points West host Jason D'Souza.

Safety guidelines

The SPCA suggests that carriage rides be limited to park spaces, that only one horse be attached to a carriage, and that operators carry an emergency kit with them at all times.

The letter was spurred by an incident on May 4 where two horses used by Victoria Carriage Tours fell to the ground at Ogden Point after the trolley came into contact with a bus.

A bystander filmed the scene and video shows the horses, still harnessed to each other, struggling to get up off the ground as pedestrians and operators try to coax them to their feet.

"What needed to happen right away is the harnesses on them should've been removed, but it took more than five minutes for the animals to get up because they were attached to each other," Morris said.

An equine specialist reviewed the footage and found that the incident wasn't handled with proper safety procedures, putting the horses and people at further risk, Morris said.

The SPCA's list of changes was taken to council by Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe, lead on animal welfare issues, who recommended city staff report back with more information for council to consider.

Victoria Carriage Tours was contacted for comment but did not respond.

Horses struggle to get to their feet

With files from All Points West

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