ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Despite a cease and desist order from the Metropolitan Taxi Commission, horse-drawn carriages are operating in St. Louis City and County.
The MTC is accusing Brookdale Farms, owner of the carriage business, of having unlicensed drivers and operating the horses in extremely hot weather.
Brookdale Farms owner Gary Kirk denies those allegations. He says his drivers are not required to have a license.
Kirk accuses the MTC of trying to regulate his carriages and drivers when in fact it has no jurisdiction over them. Additionally, Kirk says the licensing fees have jumped from $25 to $400.
Today, Kirk’s attorneys filed a restraining order against the MTC.
Kirk tells KMOX the city has already issued four or five tickets to his drivers, but he vows to keep his carriages operational.
The MTC will not comment, and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s Chief of Staff Mary Ellen Ponder released a statement that reads: “reasonable regulation of the times and conditions under which slow moving carriages operate on the region’s busiest streets is just simple horse sense.”
This is not the first time Brookdale Farms has been accused of mistreating its horses.
In 2014, then-St. Louis City Health Director Pam Walker said the horse, “Moose,” was suffering from heat stroke. Kirk’s veterinarians disputed that claim. In 2013, a 22-year-old horse died at Tilles Park. Kirk says “King” died from a heart attack and had not exhibited any distress signs before that.
Kirk tells KMOX that the city health department is supposed to oversee the horses, but now says the MTC is getting involved.
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