Saturday, March 26, 2016

City to crack down on diaperless horses

The city of Selma in west Alabama is planning a crackdown on what one council member says is a big problem. The City Council passed a law three years ago requiring that horses wear diapers when on city streets, but Councilman Michael Johnson says riders aren’t following the law. According to a Selma city ordinance adopted in December 2013, a person riding or walking a horse down a city street must equip the horse with a diapering apparatus to prevent it from leaving droppings on the street.

Johnson says the problem is especially an issue in his ward. He said he doesn’t have any issue with people riding horses around, but rather with the smell, mosquitoes and other sanitary issues. “This is something that has been going on for a long time,” Johnson said. “Like [Selma Mayor George Evans] said, this has gone on long before I got in office.” Selma Police Chief John Brock said the department plans to be stricter on enforcing the ordinance.

Brock said officers will issue a warning for a first offence and then citations for repeat offenders. “If he’s out there doing something crazy with his horse, he’s going to get a citation right off the bat,” Brock said. Both Brock and Johnson said there is a place to buy diapers for horses in town, so horse riders don’t have an excuse to take their horse on the streets without one. Still, Johnson said he’s only seen one instance where a horse rider has used a diaper on his horse when taking the horse riding on a public street.

“Most of the time, they take a chance and hope they don’t get caught,” Johnson said. Overall, Johnson supports people who choose to ride horses in public. “We’re not saying we want to do away with the horses,” Johnson said. “We just want the horse owners to abide by the rules.” Johnson said he hopes the issue doesn’t have to be brought up many more times at city council meetings. He’d prefer to have other things at the top of his list of things to worry about than an ordinance that requires horses to wear diapers. “I’m tired of it because there’s other things I could be doing than dealing with horses,” Johnson said.

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