A horse-drawn carriage is seen in Victoria on Thursday, March 24, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. city considers tighter reins on horse-drawn carriage tours

One councillor wants to keep better track of the horses, another suggests the tours don’t belong in the city

One B.C. city is looking at new regulations for a popular component of its bustling tourist sector.

Victoria councillors are considering tightening city regulations governing horse-drawn carriage tours as part of proposed wholesale changes to its animal control bylaw.

The changes include ensuring individual horses display identification numbers and health records to allow for improved animal monitoring by city licensing officers and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Councillors will debate the bylaw amendments Thursday after a meeting last week was extended due to public interest.

Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe says the city wants to keep better track of the horses, while another council member has suggested the carriage tours no longer belong in the city.

Horse-drawn carriage tours of downtown Victoria’s scenic Inner Harbour and bucolic Beacon Hill Park are popular tourism attractions, but they have often been dogged by animal rights proponents who oppose the tours.

Council is also considering renaming the current regulation to the animal responsibility bylaw, which will prohibit the sale of dogs, puppies, cats, kittens and rabbits at pet stores.

The Canadian Press