Response to Charleston Animal Society Attack Advertisement

A small business can’t compete with the Charleston Animal Society by running full-page ads in the Post & Courier. Using that photograph of Blondie to portray carriage tours is akin to using a plane crash to portray air travel. Below is a photograph of Blondie taken last week at Shuga Cain plantation. He is fit, healthy and fully recovered from his fall. After an extensive study conducted by an independent veterinarian hired by the city, it was determined that the Blondie incident was nothing more than an accident; a fall not related to heat, weight of the carriage, or the care and treatment of the animal. Blondie is fine.

By addressing each of the accusations put forth I hope to give you a clear picture of the reality of the situation as well as the duplicity of the CAS. Despite denials, the Charleston Animal Society has publicly stated they believe that carriage horses should not be used in Charleston. An organization with that stated agenda has no place leading any discussion on carriage regulations.

As for the ability of the animals to work and remain healthy under the city’s heat protocol system, since temperature limitations were adopted in 1986, we have had no heat-related incidents. Like it or not, this is a system with a proven record.  When this present version was adopted, the Charleston Animal Society existed as the John Ancrum SPCA. They not only had a seat at the table, but also voted in favor of adopting these guidelines. The methodology the city uses in measuring the temperature is that of the National Weather Service, not of the carriage operators. Every temperature you see on television or in the newspaper is taken in the same manner.  Thermometers are sold with these instructions. NWS methodology has always been the basis of the system. Mr. Elmore would have you adopt his own methodology to achieve his goal.

Pulling doesn’t require the same strength as carrying. The level topography of the Lowcountry combined with paved roads and roller bearing wheels allow a 1500-pound horse to easily pull a 16-passenger carriage. Like commercial aircraft, we have a weight limit. Airlines do not weigh every passenger, but rather use a government mandated standard weight per passenger to calculate their load limit. Carriage operators do the same thing, using US Coast Guard standards. Is there any transportation entity that employs the method Mr. Elmore puts forth?

Finally, how does it all work for the animals? The veterinarian that oversees our animal care had this to say. “Palmetto Carriage Company is consistently diligent and conscientious in the care and management of their herd of horses and mules. Palmetto Carriage Company maintains an extremely high standard of care with all of their animals.” Blondie was an anomaly. Don’t confuse an anomaly with the norm. After the “Cruz Incident”, when a CAS adoption dog bit 2 children, Mr. Elmore was quoted as saying “the episode stood out as an anomaly “ and so did Blondie. Mr. Elmore should apply the same criteria to both; instead he printed a half page picture of our anomaly as if it were the norm. Clearly it is not.