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Carriage horses pulled off hot South Carolina streets

When it gets too hot in this charming old city, the picturesque horse-drawn carriages that let tourists soak in Southern ambiance get yanked inside – that’s the law.

The heat in South Carolina prompted Charleston to order that horse-drawn carriage companies keep the animals in their stables.

Charleston spokesman Jack O’Toole said the city ordered horses off the streets Wednesday afternoon, the first time in 2017 that tours have been halted by the heat.

The city recently adopted new rules that require the horses to be kept in their stables when officials record four consecutive readings of 95 degrees or higher at 15-minute intervals. The previous limit had been 98 degrees.

The city issued orders at 2:40 p.m. not to allow any more carriages to start tours and the order to head to the stables was issued 15 minutes later with another 95 degree reading, O’Toole said.

Temperatures dropped below the maximum heat levels at 4 p.m. and the city lifted the order. But carriage operators kept the horses in their stables.

Tom Doyle with Palmetto Carriage Works said the city pulled the horses off the street too quickly.

“The city shut the carriage operations down before there were the mandated four readings of 95 degrees 15 minutes apart,” Doyle said in an email.

O’Toole said officials saw the temperature continuing to rise through three readings and prevented carriages from starting tours until the final reading came in.

Temperatures are expected to remain high in the next week, according to weather reports.

Last July, Charleston had 18 days with temperatures of 95 degrees or more.

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