People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a complaint with Salt Lake County Animal Services on Tuesday calling for an investigation into embattled horse-drawn carriage company Carriage for Hire. PETA says Salt Lake City should revoke the company’s license for failing to report a number of accidents involving horse carriages. But, improper reporting may not be enough to force horse carriages off the streets. Jeremy Beckham is a research project manager at PETA who lives in Salt Lake City. He says according to documents obtained from animal services and city traffic accident reports, Carriage for Hire reported to county animal services only three of the eight accidents their carriages were involved in over the past four years.
“Two horses have died in these accidents,” Beckham says. “There have been people hospitalized as a result of injuries from these accidents. And there have been thousands of dollars of property damage. And I don’t think any of this is going to end until we wake up and realize these are large prey animals that spook easily and they don’t belong on city streets.”
Art Raymond is a spokesman for the Salt Lake City mayor’s office. He says failure to report these accidents to animal services is in violation of a Salt Lake City ordinance, but even if Carriage for Hire did violate the rule, the city isn’t poised to take the company’s license away.
“It’s certainly the case that Carriage for Hire has a reporting duty,” Raymond says. “However, it’s not necessarily the case that failure to report an accident or multiple failures to report an accident equals a license revocation.”
Raymond says the city will take action, if necessary after county animal services reviews the allegations.
Carriage for Hire came under fire this summer following the death of one of its horses named Jerry. Salt Lake City is has since debated whether to strengthen its regulations involving horse-drawn carriages.