Group planning protest in St. Augustine to call for ban on horse drawn carriages

SAINT AUGUSTINE, Fla. — St. Augustine’s bayfront will be the site of a protest tomorrow to call for a ban on horse-drawn carriages.


A group called OneProtest is putting together the demonstration in the hopes of bringing attention to what they call animal abuse.

Horse-drawn carriages have become a tradition for the nation’s oldest city.

The carriages often whisk people away through St. Augustine’s historic neighborhoods.

“I would hate to see the horse drawn carriages removed they are a romantic part of this city,” said Linda McCcune.

But Adam Sugalski, the executive director of OneProtest, said it’s not romantic at all. Instead he calls it outdated.

“It’s 2019, not 1819, and nobody has to do this [for] transportation. It’s almost a gimmick at this point,” Sugalski said.

Starting at 4 p.m. Saturday, the animal rights activists will lead a demonstration calling for a ban on the carriages.

“Our goal is just to raise awareness and so people can see that people do care about this,” Sugalski said.

The issue has taken center stage in the past. In 2012 the city mandated that carriage horses be provided water after every tour and prohibited tours if temperatures reached 95 degrees.

But Sugalski said that’s not enough.

“It’s emotionally stressful regardless of if it’s getting physically abused. Pulling a carriage - in our minds, that’s abuse,” Sugalski said.

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Visitors Action News Jax spoke with, including Cristina Sostre Martinez, believe the attraction should stay but at the same time she wants the horses to be treated right.

“It’s necessary to take care of the animals,” she said.

Action News Jax called five carriage companies in town. St. Augustine Horse and Carriage was the only one that answered our call, but before we could even ask a question, the man on the other end of the line said, “No comment.”