Alderman Changes Rules Regarding Horse-Drawn Carriages

The board said the changes clarified the language of the law.

Frederick, MD – After three hours of public comment and discussion, the Frederick Board of Alderman made changes Thursday night to an ordinance regarding horse-drawn carriages.

Changes were made to regulations requiring carriage ride operators to give their horses a half hour break every two hours.

The original regulations being discussed were created in April 2019, but recently received backlash when carriage ride operator Donnie Lambert said he would not give carriage rides in downtown Frederick unless it was changed.

The meeting took comments from supporters of the ordinance as well as individuals that believed the law was too restrictive.

“The requirements outlined in section 2260-F are not unreasonable and do align with many other cities in the country,” animal activist and Frederick resident Michael Boyer said. “I have faith [the aldermen] will make the right decision in this.”

Donnie Lambert’s daughter Dr. Jessica Lambert gave comment at the meeting, explaining their business already gives their horses short breaks between every carriage ride in a four-hour work night.

“The issue is not that we want to work our horses for four hours straight,” Dr. Lambert said. “We feel like it’s in the best interest of our horses… that resting them for 8-10 minutes every 30 minutes and then again resting them for 30 minutes every two hours unhitched is excessive and detrimental to their health.”

After hearing public comment and deliberating, the Board of Aldermen specified the wording on the ordinance.

The original ordinance required one 30 minute break every two hours.

The updated regulation requires 30 minutes of rest within a two hour period. The 30 minutes do not have to be consecutive.

Rests were further defined as a the wagon braked with wheel chucks as to not add weight to the horse while resting. The operators are required to offer water to the horses at every rest point.

A motion was made to vote on the changes to the ordinance and it was passed. Four Aldermen voted in favor and Alderman Ben MacShane abstained.


By Timothy Young