08/07/07 — Mount Olive Town Council takes aim at reckless horseback riders on streets

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Mount Olive Town Council takes aim at reckless horseback riders on streets

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on August 7, 2007 1:45 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Look out, Mount Olive cowboys -- your days might be numbered.

Town officials just might have you in their sights if you don't know how to rein in your mount.

The council discussed horses in the streets, among other issues, at its regular meeting Monday.

"We've had some concerns, and I think valid concerns, about horses being ridden in town," Town Manager Charles Brown said. "I've witnessed some fairly aggressive riding going on, and it's a big enough concern that it's a safety issue."

Brown proposed a ban on horses inside the city limits, with allowances made for animals that are part of "Christmas parades and things of that nature."

But Town Attorney W. Carroll Turner suggested the proposed horse limits might be a bit of an overreaction.

"There's people in Mount Olive that own horses and ponies or whatever that you see ... ride around in a surrey or buggy, and I don't, quite frankly, think they're bothering anybody," Turner said. "As a matter of fact, I find it very quaint and Christmasy and all that stuff."

He added that residents might not react too kindly to a horse ban.

"I think probably people in that situation would be somewhat taken aback and offended if we adopt an ordinance that just prohibits a horse in town," Turner said.

He suggested that allowances could be made to allow for surries, buggies and other such old-fashioned equestrian transportation.

The ordinance as Turner envisioned it, he said, would just target the problem riders.

Mayor Pro Tempore Jimmy Kornegay wondered if it would be difficult to come up with appropriate wording.

Brown said town police could take a page from existing traffic laws.

"If you're recklessly riding a horse, it's the same thing as recklessly riding a car," Brown said. "Maybe we can address that."

"I think you'd have a lot less complaints if you'd prohibit aggressive riding that would frighten or injure somebody," Turner added.

Brown agreed and said town employees would work on wording for the proposed ordinance.

"I think the total ban of riding horses in town is probably too strong," Brown said. "Even so, I think we can address the aggressive riding."

Commissioners also mentioned existing limits -- including bans on basketball hoops and games of bocce ball on town streets.