Commentary by Mindy Patterson, President of The Cavalry Group:
The following article explaining the denial of a new horse-drawn carriage permit by the City of Salvang is proof that the Solvang City Council members have been misinformed and wrongfully influenced by out-of-state animal rights extremists masquarading as qualified authorities overseeing the horse-drawn carriage industry. It is our view at The Cavalry Group that Double Tree Carriages was wrongfully and arbitrarily denied their permit.
Article by Karen Garcia for The Santa Barbara Sun
The Solvang City Council denied Doubletree Carriages’ application for a horse-drawn conveyance license, stating that some of the streets downtown were closed to accommodate businesses for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The council asked for community input on the horse-drawn carriages after receiving comments that called on the city to ban the service altogether.
At the Aug. 24 City Council meeting, the council received several public comments from local organizations and visitors from the East Coast with concerns of harm done to the horses that are pulling the carriages.
Commenters from the East Coast cited the city of Chicago, which approved a ban on horse-drawn carriages in April that would go into effect Jan. 1, 2021. The council’s decision came after members of the Chicago Alliance for Animals pressured the city, calling the service inhumane.
Paula Kislak—a Santa Barbara resident, veterinarian, and member of The Humane Society of the United States—urged the board to ban horse-drawn carriages in the city.
“We as veterinarians treat animals as a result of the carriage trade and the trolley trade. We’ve treated heat exhaustion, which is exacerbated by the exhaust fumes, and we treat lameness, which can be acute at times when pulling heavy loads. It’s very stressful on the tendons, ligaments, and joints, which causes arthritis that can last the lifetime of the animal,” Kislak said.
Solvang Mayor Pro Tem Robert Clarke said the city received about 52 emails against horse-drawn trolleys, but the senders were from the East Coast. Clarke said he cares more about what the Solvang community thinks about the carriages.
“I’m not a huge fan of the horses being used to pull trolleys downtown, but it’s not my choice. I represent the citizens of Solvang, and it’s what the citizens of Solvang like, but I have to comment on the irony,” Clarke said.
He said while the comments from out-of-state individuals are valid, he had to question the timing of the discussion.
“But the irony of coming from Chicago that they got the City Council to ban horse carriages, and you’ve got kids being slaughtered in the streets and hundreds of people being shot every single weekend in Chicago,” Clarke said. “And this is what we’re talking about from Chicago.”
The council moved to deny the application of Doubletree Carriages and directed staff to conduct a survey of city residents about horse-drawn carriages.