Mayor won’t revoke horse carriage license
Official Warning • All traffic accidents must be reported.
Published: October 31, 2013 09:58AM
Updated: October 31, 2013 09:57AM
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Steve Griffin | Tribune file photo Carriage operator Becky Denson scratches the nose of her horse, Tut, as the pair wait for a fare on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake City Council will once again take up debate on proposed new regulations for the only carriage company operating in SLC, Carriage for Hire.

Mayor Ralph Becker has determined that Salt Lake City will not revoke the business license of Carriage for Hire, in the wake of the death of Jerry the horse in August.

In a letter to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that requested the revocation earlier this week, David Everitt, Becker’s chief of staff, said Carriage for Hire’s violations of city ordinances did not rise to the level that would trigger a loss of license .

“The city has determined that revocation of the business license is not appropriate at this time,” he wrote. “This is the first time the city has been notified of a violation of the notification requirement, and the city has determined that a warning is an appropriate step.”

PETA spokesman Jeremy Beckham asked for the company’s license to be scrapped , citing Salt Lake City records that reveal Carriage for Hire reported only three of eight traffic accidents over the past four years.

The city ordinance regulating horse-drawn carriages requires that all accidents be reported.

Beckham wondered aloud Wednesday how many times the carriage company would have to flout the law before having its license revoked.

“I’m obviously disappointed,” he said. “Carriage for hire has broken the law five times over the past four years. I don’t know what it would take — 10 times?”

Noting that he was aware the administration and the City Council are considering tightening regulations, Beckham said such action would do little to curtail future accidents.

“Horses don’t belong in a dense urban environment,” he said. “If they are, you will have accidents that endanger people and the horses, as well.”

Jerry the horse collapsed on a city street Aug. 17. Owners Blaine and Annette Overson said that he had recovered when, in fact, he had died. The Oversons later said the horse succumbed to colic.

In his response to Beckham, Everitt said the Oversons have operated Carriage for Hire since 1987. “During that time, the City has received few complaints about Carriage For Hire and its business operations.”

csmart@sltrib.com