Horse cart owners, or “carties”, are being accused by the public of overloading their carts and forcing their horses to work on very hot days.
Residents of Edgemead, Bothasig, and Brooklyn and Goodwood have been calling on the Cart Horse Protection Association (CHPA), which is based in Epping, to take action.
Bothasig Ratepayers’ Association spokesman Mario Borcherds said he had complained to the CHPA, but some residents felt it was wrong to do so as they would be threatening the carties’ only means of income.
“I have contacted the CHPA and asked for guidance pertaining to what can be done for the horses when it is very hot,” he said.
Cherlin Arrow, of Edgemead, claimed the way the horses were being treated in the hot weather amounted to abuse.
“On days when it is almost impossible to sit outside in the sun, horses are seen working in these streets,” she said.
CHPA spokeswoman Megan White said the organisation had been inundated with complaints since the start of the year from residents in Brooklyn, Edgemead, Bothasig, and Goodwood – areas where the carties are commonly seen.
The organisation used a WhatsApp group to advise carties to keep their horses off their roads when the temperature rose above 27 degrees Celsius, she said.
“We monitor the weather and inform the owners, days before, or a day before, that they should not take their horses onto the road for work. Some of them listen and some others don’t. So we try to work with neighbourhood watches in the areas to provide this information.”
The public could used the organisation’s hotline (082 659 9599) to report abuse, she said, adding that inspectors investigated complaints and took further action either by educating the owner or confiscating the horse.
“It’s always good to take pictures and video footage, to support the case,” she said.
In some cases, carts carrying large items could appear overloaded when, in fact, they were not, she said.
“A big horse can pull about a ton. This includes the passengers, the cart and the load.”
Eleven horses had been confiscated from their owners last year, she said.
Carties who registered their horses with the organisation were given certain privileges including harness and cart repairs as well as horse shoes, deworming and vaccinations for their animals.
“A registered horse will receive a number plate proving that it is indeed registered,” said Ms White.
Brooklyn resident Fay Vogel said none of the numbers on the CHPA’s website seemed to be working, and it had taken the organisation nearly six hours to respond to her complaints.
“This organisation needs to be better organised because by the time we spot a horse and cart, and they come out to the community, the horse is long gone. They need to get a better system in place,” she said.
But Ms White said emergency numbers on the website were operational. She said the organisation only had three inspectors and it was hard to keep track of every horse and cart around the city.
The City did not respond by deadline to questions emailed on Thursday January 11.