Las Vegas Approves New Horse Carriage Business

With all of the pressure to close existing horse carriage businesses around the country, youíd think that new cities would try to avoid that controversy altogether. Apparently, Las Vegas is not following that logic. This month, Sin City voted to approve a carriage horse company to operate downtown.

As contentious as this issue has been nationally, itís been no less so in Vegas. Mayor Carolyn Goodman opposed bringing in horses, as did three members of the city council, but ultimately the four other members of the council outvoted them. Those who approved the business believe that it will bring money and jobs to the community, as well as provide tourists with an additional reason to stay in the downtown area.

Opponents have argued against carriages not just from an animal welfare standpoint, but also as a matter of city planning. In addition to impeding traffic, the approved horse carriage route will cross the busy Las Vegas Boulevard at six different intersections. With the areaís usual bustle Ė not to mention intoxication Ė critics see this business as an accident waiting to happen.

The writing on the wall wasnít enough to sway the majority of Vegas politicians, however. ďI think itís something we need to at least allow to take place for 12 months,Ē said Ricki Barlow, a city council member. The current plan is to issue a yearlong permit and reassess the businessí value to the city at the end of the period.

Love Carriage, owned an operated by spouses Margarita Ramos and Giovanni Padron, have promised to adhere to rules to maintain a certain standard of care for carriage horses:

  • Horses may not be whipped
  • Horses will be fitted with custom-sized soft harnesses
  • No more than five passengers in the carriage
  • Horses cannot work when the temperature exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Horses are limited to working 8 hours a day, 6 days a week
  • For better or worse, horses will wear diapers to prevent excrement from landing on the street

Still, animal activists are dubious that these rules are enough to prevent cruelty and harm to the horses. The regulations are far shorter and less specific than other citiesí rules. For example, the Las Vegas horse carriage regulations are only 7 pages, compared to NYCís 38 pages. Even the owner of one of New Yorkís major carriage companies acknowledged that Vegasís existing codes are weaker than in other parts of the country.

Furthermore, council members like Lois Tarkanian are dubious that local animal control agencies would be able to keep tabs on the horse carriage business to ensure that they were following the existing regulations. She pointed out that animal control still hasnít been able to successfully tackle the cityís homeless cat and dog situation yet.

From a public relations standpoint, the carriage horses are a risky venture in their own right. Given the outcry against horse-drawn carriages in other parts of the country, itís possible that their presence will deter more tourists than they appeal to.

Despite the city councilís vote, it might not be too late to prevent Love Carriage from actually getting started. Because the carriage company would still need to obtain a business license and approval from the Nevada Transportation Services Authority, concerned animal activists in the state have written a petition asking for those permissions to be denied.

Join in calling on the NV TSA to refuse to endorse this cruel industry by signing here.


Jim Ven
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

Horses should not be on hard concrete type surfaces.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

Petition signed with hope that the Nevada Transportation Services Authority does NOT endorse this horrible idea!!

Melania Padilla
Melania P3 years ago

Petition signed and shared by the way

Melania Padilla
Melania P3 years ago

No no!! This is so wrong! Shame shame!!

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

What are those idiots thinking? One of the hottest places in the US. Heavy traffic. High temperatures. Ok, sure they say no working over 90 degrees but that is air temp what temp is that asphault going to be and then having to work for 8 hours in that heat on that hot asphault. Where are the food and water break requirements? There is never enough regulation or supervision to ensure these horse will be cared for properly. In addition to all this, they are more worried about the mess in the street from horse poop so the horses have to wear diapers (which will also make the horses hotter). Oh I can't say how much contempt I have for these people right now.

Not to mention comparing this issue to the dog and cat population. What's up with that?

Alan Lambert
Alan Lambert3 years ago

Signed, but I'd bet that in order to keep them going, most will start driving at night...

Rhonda B.
Rhonda B3 years ago

Petition Signed. Poor horses!

ron Dean
ron D3 years ago

Easy solution to the car traffic danger....bad cars on the strip...better for horses....better for people....better for the environment!