Seasoned cowboys had their say in Port Arthur Tuesday when they asked City Council to re-visit an ordinance requiring horses to wear an apparatus designed to catch waste.
Rogers Harrison, of Port Arthur, said he’s been around horses most of his life. He’s organized 16 trail rides in the city and thinks he knows a thing or two about horses.
“Those bags will cause a horse to kick and buck; they’re just dangerous,” he said.
In addition to being dangerous, the bags are difficult to find, and even harder to make a horse wear, Harrison said.
“Them horses are going to buck when you put that bag on,” he said. “The bag is going to do nothing but cause trouble.”
Darryl Pace, of Port Arthur, is also an experienced horseman, who organized a local trail ride in September. His rides, and those organized by Harrison, are always permitted, and cleaned up afterwards, he said.
The bags are made for buggy horses, not those wearing saddles, Pace said.
Port Arthur’s city council in October adopted an amended ordinance requiring horses ridden in city limits to wear an apparatus, much like a diaper, that catches waste. Those violating the amended ordinance are subject to fines up to $2,000.
The amended ordinance is written for individual riders in city neighborhoods, and does not affect existing requirements for trail rides. The current ordinance pertaining to trail rides requires that the person in charge of the 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.
Pace said recent trail rides in the city where messes were left on the street were organized by out-of-towners.
Mayor Deloris “Bobbie” Prince said the amended ordinance was adopted as a deterrent to individual horseback riders in the city whose animals were leaving a mess in the streets and in their neighbors’ yards and driveways.
One of the communities with problems from horse waste is El Vista — an area that Pace said he has had trail rides before.
Since the ordinance passed, District 6 Councilman Robert E. Williamson said he has spoken with another Port Arthur man experienced with horses who was not in favor of the new waste apparatus rule.
“He says these bags — called a bun bag — are very difficult to find,” Williamson said.
Before the amended ordinance was passed, numerous people called to complain. Some even sent pictures of the horse waste to his phone, Williamson said.
“The problem is there won’t be a horse, won’t be a rider, and there will be a mess and there will be complaints, but there won’t be a witness,” Williamson said.
Though Williamson questioned whether the bags would be effective in eliminating waste, he said something had to be done.
“I’ve got this on authority from two seasoned horsemen that these bags are not the answer,” Williamson said.