Man launches petition to ban horse-drawn carriages from Country Club Plaza

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City man has launched a petition to ban horse-drawn carriages from the Country Club Plaza, saying it's animal abuse.

Kyle Rhodes is an Iowa native and son of a veterinarian. He says using horses for carriage rides is cruel. Rhodes says horses' hooves are not made to walk on asphalt. In addition, Rhodes says carriage rides create traffic jams on the Plaza.

"On a Friday or Saturday, there's backed up traffic, and people who don't really care about the horses," Rhodes said. "They drive around and honk at them, so I don't see why we need them."

Rhodes organized a petition online using the Change.org website. Already he has nearly 1,000 signatures.

"I just think if New York City can work on banning these carriages, I don't see why Kansas City would be any different," Rhodes said.

Bobby McGee owns Kansas City Carriages, a company that's been giving carriage rides around the Plaza for 30 years.

"These horses are hearty animals," he said. "It's what they were bred for. Draft work. Pull work. It's what they were made for."

McGee said horses are highly regulated by the city and are required to see a vet once a month. McGee added that the horses are all fitted with special shoes that keep horses' hooves in good shape.

"That's where being a horseman makes a difference," he said. "If you don't know when a horse feels good, how will you know when a horse feels bad? Or vice-versa?"

Glenn Stephenson with Highwood Properties, the company that oversees the Plaza, said in a statement his company wants everyone to be safe and that they trust the city regulations of the horses.

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