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Carriage Horse FAQs

Q: What are carriage horses?

A: Used over a century ago, before the use of motor vehicles, horse drawn carriages traditionally were used for public transportation. Some breeds of horses were used specifically for carriage work

Q: Why are Carriage Horses used now?

A: Carriage horses emerged in the Victorian era as a means of transportation for wealthy classes. Today, carriage horses function as tourist attractions in many cities.

Q: Are there any laws that regulate the use of carriage horses in Ottawa?

A: There are no specific regulations within the province of Ontario that regulate the use of carriage horses. The City of Ottawa does not currently license horse drawn carriages, but there are some other areas that they do enforce such as parking that would impact the operations of such a business. Please contact the City of Ottawa at 3-1-1 for more information.

The Ottawa Humane Society employs agents and inspectors who are authorized under the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) Act and enforce the animal cruelty sections of both the Criminal Code of Canada and the OSPCA Act within the province of Ontario. Within both the Criminal Code of Canada as well as the OSPCA Act it is considered an offence when you fail to provide animals with suitable and adequate food, water, shelter and care. Under both the Criminal Code of Canada and the OSPCA Act agents and inspectors may issue orders, and remove animals in circumstances where an animal is in distress and can lay charges, where warranted, under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Q: What is the Ottawa Humane Society doing to help the City of Ottawa carriage horses?

A: The Ottawa Humane Society’s agents and inspectors respond to all valid complaints made regarding the carriage horse’s care and welfare as well as perform regular checks on the horses when passing through the area. The Ottawa Humane Society also educates the public adequate Standards of Care of horses.

Q: What can I do to help make life better for carriage horses?

A: Contact your local government representative to voice your opinion and discourage the use of carriage horses in Ottawa. 

  • Do not take carriage rides – and tell your friends and family to do the same. 
  • Educate yourself about this issue. There is a lot of information on the internet. 
  • Familiarize yourself with existing legislation that regulates this industry in other areas such as New York City –i.e. how many people are allowed to ride in a carriage; what streets horse carriages are restricted to – and for which days and hours; the temperatures at which the horses are allowed to work.  
  • If you are concerned about the care and welfare of an animal please call the Ottawa Humane Society at 613-725-3166 ext. 224, or 613-725-1532 for emergencies.  

Provide the following information:

  • Time and date of the incident
  • Location
  • Description of the carriage
  • Description of the horse
  • Description of the driver/operator
  • Description of what you observe