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EDITORIAL: Horses downtown

As this page has dared to point out for years, no lobby is more dedicated, irrational, emotional and unbending as animal lovers. And they’re more politically engaged than ever before, which increasingly has elected officials happier to kiss a kitten than a baby.

So it was mighty encouraging to see four members of the Las Vegas City Council stand up to the hysteria and alarmism of the creature brigade earlier this month and approve a modest plan to allow horse-drawn carriages downtown.

Riding in a carriage can be a very enjoyable visitor experience, and if it helps keep visitors downtown and let them see more of the area, it’s worth a try.

But animal lovers were horrified by the idea, even with a requirement that prohibits horses from working when the temperature reaches 90 degrees, among other requirements intended to protect the animals. Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, who sided with animal advocates, said “animal control can’t even keep up with feral cats and loose dogs.”

But feral cats and loose dogs aren’t subject to business licensing — and they don’t pay taxes or create jobs. Love Carriage, owned by Margarita Reyes Ramos and her husband, Giovanni Serrano Padron, won a 12-month trial. The couple know their business, once operational, will have the full attention of the animal rights crowd. They’ll be watched, they’ll be recorded by smartphone cameras, they might even provide rides to a few spies. And if they overwork or mistreat their horses, they’ll be out of business pretty darn quick. They have every incentive to treat their horses well.

Kudos to councilmen Ricki Barlow, Bob Beers, Bob Coffin and Steve Ross for recognizing as much, looking past the objections of animal advocates and giving the business a chance.

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