It’s not how cowboys did it in the Wild West, or even today in the rodeo arena, but nonetheless, anyone wanting to saddle up and ride inside the city limits of Port Arthur is required to put a diaper on their pony.
Port Arthur’s city council on Monday adopted an amended ordinance requiring horses ridden in city limits to wear an apparatus that catches waste. Those violating the amended ordinance are subject to fines up to $2,000.
Mayor Deloris “Bobbie” Prince said horseriders in the city were posing problems for their neighbors and those traveling city streets.
“People keep their laws cut and then have to scoop up the mess in the streets,” Prince said. “I don’t mind people enjoying horses, but when you have that stuff left behind, it can be totally disgusting.”
Prince said she preferred that horseback riding be prohibited in all city residential neighborhoods altogether because it would be difficult to enforce the requirement that horses wear diapers.
City council was hesitant to ban horseback riding altogether.
“I’m a little hesitant to restrict it 100 percent. People in El Vista and Port Acres have horses and they like to ride them,” Jack Chatman Jr., District 1 city councilman, said.
The ordinance also requires that the person in charge of trail rides is responsible for cleaning up city streets. If found to be in violation, fines of not less than $10 per horse in the trail ride can be assessed.
Prince said she hoped horse owners would heed the new requirement. If not, the city council will revisit the ordinance, and possibly prohibit riding in residential neighborhoods altogether.
City council also approved a $4,500 annual expenditure to stream video of city council meetings. The technology will allow taped city council meetings to be watched on computers through the internet.
Meetings will be indexed according to date and made available on the city’s Website. Anyone with sufficient internet capabilities can watch the meetings in their entirety, or select only the portion they are interested in.