Montreal calèche owner made horse work in extreme heat, judge rules

An outspoken Montreal calèche owner has been found guilty of making his horse work in extreme heat. An inspector found Fred, a horse at Lucky Luc stables, pulling a calèche in 29-degree heat last summer, court documents say.

Owner of Lucky Luc stables fined for mistreatment of the horse, despite efforts to get him off streets

A horse-drawn carriage rides past the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Old Montreal. The city is set to ban calèches on Dec. 31. (The Canadian Press)

An outspoken Montreal calèche owner has been found guilty of making his horse work in extreme heat. An inspector found the horse, Fred, pulling a calèche when it was 29 C outside, court documents say. 

The Montreal municipal court judgment says Lucky Luc owner Luc Desparois did not do enough to get his horse off the streets on July 15, 2018.

Municipal regulations state that calèche owners need to pull their horses out of service when the temperature reaches 28 C.

Desparois tried to reach the calèche driver by phone around noon that day, in an attempt to warn him that the heat was too severe, the ruling says.

Desparois tried calling the driver several times, but he was unable to pick up because he was driving tourists on the calèche, where he is not allowed to be on his phone.

An inspector then intercepted the calèche.

The judge ruled that Desparois did not make enough of an effort to take Fred off the road. He was fined $500 for the incident.

Last summer for Montreal calèches 

Desparois has been an advocate for the calèche industry.

Lucky Luc stables came under fire last summer, when one of its horses, Charlotte, died on the job. In response to that incident, Desparois had told CBC News that the horse had shown no sign of illness. 

Desparois has also said that there is "no logical proof" that pulling carriages is hard on the horses. He has over 25 years of experience in the industry.

Montreal's ban on calèches will take effect on Dec. 31.

Horse owners can receive $1,000 in compensation. The SPCA and other animal rights associations will be placing the animals into adoptive families and shelters.