Some Evanston aldermen reacted skeptically Monday night to a proposed ban on horse-drawn carriages that was prompted by a single complaint.

“What problem are we trying to solve here?” Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, asked as he chaired the Human Services Committee meeting. “What’s the impetus for this?” Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, added.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz responded that he’d received an emailed complaint from a resident.

He said the resident, who lives in the 600 block of Church Street, told him she’d seen a horse and carriage at the corner of Maple Avenue and Church Street on Saturday, Oct. 28, and felt that the animal appeared to be endangered.

After checking the city code and discovering that it doesn’t currently ban horse-drawn carriages, he directed the city’s legal department to prepare the ordinance to prohibit them.

Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, said she could be fine supporting a ban on carriage horses, but she asked whether it would also apply to a person riding a horse.

Assistant City Attorney Henry Ford said he could look into expanding the prohibition to include horseback riding, “but I would need to do some more due diligence about that.”

Braithwaite said some schools have carnival events with horseback rides for kids, and suggested that there should be an exception for those.

Bobkiewicz said operation of horse carriages or similar activities on private property “would be another matter entirely,” but that the ordiance might be revised to address “other special events involving animals” beyond the parade exemption included in the draft ordinance.

Some comments from residents expressed doubts about a ban.

Dan Joseph asked whether the Lone Ranger would be permitted to ride Silver here.

Betty Landis suggested that a horse-drawn carriage ride is seen by some people as a charming part of a wedding ceremony, and the city shouldn’t make it too hard to carry out that tradition.

And Dan Coyne wondered whether the ordinance would ban Mennonites and members of other religious groups that use horse-drawn carriages from visiting Evanston.

Chicago has chosen to regulate rather than ban horse drawn carriages and has adopted an extensive regulatory scheme for the industry, although animal rights activists claim the three carriage firms licensed in the city routinely violate the rules.

Rather than advancing the proposed ordinance to the full City Council, the committee directed the city manager to have the staff consider revisions to the proposal and then bring it back to the committee at its Feb. 5 meeting.

Related story

City considers ban on horse-drawn carriages (12/3/17)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. proposed ban on horse-drawn carriages

    Santa Claus and his reindeer would have not been able to visit Evanston if this ordinance had been passed.

    1. Solution looking for a problem

      Also sound like “Ready, fire, aim”

      Since 1974 I’ve only seen maybe three horse drawn carriages in Evanston. Two  for weddings at Alice Milar and maybe one at the Orrington.

      Protestor must be lawyer who want to get hired to fight this and get payoff from the city or at least drain tax funds to fight it..


  2. Micro Managing

    So the City Manager receives one complaint and as a result directs staff to prepare an ordinance? Time for Wally to ride into the sunset.

    1. Go Away
      I completely agree with the Micro Managing comment. One person is outraged. Yet there’s no indication that anyone else, let alone a majority, are outraged? Tell the person complaining to pound sand and move elsewhere.

      1. Drone Ban?
        Isn’t this similar to the ban on drones? One person had an issue and before you know it there’s a ban and the Taxpayers are facing a lawsuit?

      2. What an utter waste of time

        What an utter waste of time and resources. Regulating the bunny/squirrel population will be next!

    2. Whoa!
      An old fashion walk with a carriage driven horse down the road …in the once upon a time “1 horse town” with its crooked paths that are now narrow 2 lane streets. Many would like to get out of Dodge but have bonded by the nostalgia of the once quaint town. The rooster has crow(wed) and it is time to wake up and smell the dung. Keep up the micro part. The manure would be great for the garden. Yes you back in the day folks, “It takes a village” to police and correct the many issues that occur for doing your due diligence. PLEASE SAY SORRY, SORRY, SORRY, SORRY, sorry, sorry, soooooo sorrrrrry with violins.

  3. Horse sense on the council

    Who is the expert who pass judgement that the horse was endangered? Does the town council have someone on the panel that knows anything about harness fitting or the proper and correct way to harness and hook a horse? The American Driving Society will need to respond to  outrageous action.

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