Sun | Oct 22, 2017

Stricter measures coming for horseback riding operators in St Ann

Published:Thursday | January 7, 2016 | 12:00 AM

OCHO RIOS, St Ann

Operators of horseback riding tours in St Ann are to face new measures as it relates to their business, as of early this year.

This follows the latest in a series of accidents, over the years, involving horses which have resulted in persons being killed, and subsequent concerns raised by several residents in the Mammee Bay, St Ann where the latest accident occurred.

The horse involved in the accident (and which also died) allegedly belonged one of the several operators of horseback riding in the Mammee Bay area.

Mayor of St Ann's Bay, Desmond Gilmore, has told The Gleaner that as of this month, stray animals will be impounded and taken to the pound in Moneague.

There, owners will have to pay a fee to retrieve the animals. If the animals are not retrieved after a given time, the operator of the pound reserves the right to auction the animals to recover costs.

TRACING THE OWNERS

The parish council is also to move ahead with plans to make it mandatory to have the horses used in the tours, branded, so the owners can be identified, if the

animal is involved in an accident or impounded.

One of the grouses of victims in accidents involving horses is that they have no way of tracing the owners as the horses are not marked.

According to the mayor, this will have to change.

"We want to make it mandatory that they brand the horses when they are applying to TPDCO to get license to operate. If the horses are not branded, then no licenses will be issued," Gilmore said.

He noted that the measures are to be implemented after several meetings with the operators, who, despite assurances that they would properly secure the animals to avoid accidents, do not seem to be complying.

ADDRESS THE SITUATION

The latest accident, in which a 51-year-old man from the nearby community of Steer Town died, after the car he was travelling in collided with a horse that had strayed on to a section of the north coast Highway, has renewed calls for something to be done to address the situation.

"The victim could have been anyone of us as Jamaicans or it could have been a tourist. The fact of the matter is that horses, when let loose at nights, pose a constant threat to life and property and something needs to be done to rectify this," one Mammee Bay resident argued.

Meanwhile, head of the police department in St Ann, Superint-endent Wayne Cameron, said the police stand ready to assist the parish council with the impounding of stray animals.

Cameron said, too, that there is definitely a role for the TPDCo as it relates to operators of horseback riding tours as they are part of the tourism product.

rural@gleanerjm.com