FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A Fort Worth woman is leading an online effort to help protect horses working in extreme heat.
Her online petition already racked more than 5,500 signatures in support of her cause.
Brandi Cole says she was visiting the Fort Worth Stockyards over the weekend when a horse pulling a carriage caught her attention.
"There was a heat index of 113 and I saw horses doing lap after lap, and it was just too hot for the horses."
Current state and local ordinances require a horse's owner or handler to provide the animal with enough water, food, shade and that they don't over work them.
Now, Cole is asking the city to enact similar legislation to other U.S. cities that use horses for tourism and commercial purposes where extra guidelines are enforced like watering down a horse, mandated breaks, limiting the amount of rides, and taking internal temperatures.
Cole said, "I support working horses, I support small businesses. I am not mad at the carriages, but we need to treat these animals humanely."
Stockyards Stables owner Ray Dotson said he takes exception to anyone alleging he mistreats and overworks his horses.
"If someone tells me I'm mistreating these horses, I take that personal. Because I make sure that my horses have the best shoes, the best food, we feed them alfalfa…we take care of these horses like they are my children," said Dotson.
Fort Worth's Code Compliance director Brandon Bennett said the department is well aware of the petition started by Cole.
The department will look at the issue again, according to Bennett and after a process that includes community input they will determine if a change in "community standard" is necessary.
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