SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - One of the symbols of the old west and hallmarks of Sacramento's old town is getting new attention from a group of animal-rights advocates who say they want the city keep a closer eye on carriage ride codes.
The familiar sounds of horse hooves hitting the pavement in Old Sacramento are now sparking a lively debate about whether they are being treated well while they work.
Protesters pulled out lots of signs calling for a boycott of carriage rides. The horse carriages cruised past them seemingly unconcerned.
"The ordinances are not followed," said Robert Whitaker of the group Working Animal Advocates. "It's been observed that the rules are being broken."
The group says no one is enforcing city codes that call on carriage rides to stop in 100-degree heat and call for 20-minute water and rest breaks after two hours of work.
The response from Old Sacramento visitors is mixed.
"You think about all animals. What about the Sacramento Zoo? Are they going to start banning animals in the zoo because it's hot?" said Elk Grove resident Angela Anson.
"I like the theme because it's old timey so you ride in the carriage, however I do think it's unfair to the horses especially on the hot pavement," said Fairfield resident Ian Quesada.
Is it old-fashioned fun or are animals being saddled with unsafe working conditions? It's a carriage-ride controversy.
Working Animal Advocates Group submitted a letter to the Old Sacramento Historic District office last year threatening to sue the city if it did not enforce its carriage codes.
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