News Section: Local Government
City Council Addresses Issue of Waste Left By Horse Riders on Causeway
BRADENTON -- During Wednesday's City Council meeting, Councilman Gene Gallo gave a report on the ongoing and increasingly frequent issue of horse litter on Palma Sola Causeway. The carefully-worded report addressed the conundrum of how to enforce penalties against violators, and a request for council approval of signs that will be put up along the Causeway to advise horse riders to clean up after them was approved unanimously.
Gallo said that the issue was discussed at a previous meeting between various local government bodies, and that litter ordinances that the city of Bradenton and the state of Florida have would come into play on what the horses are leaving on the Causeway.
Gallo noted that such violations are not easily enforced. "This is going to be a problem if we try to give somebody a ticket. How do you prove where the waste came from?". He said that eyewitness accounts of such litter violations would probably not stand up in court. As an attempt to help prevent unattended waste on the beach, up to ten anti-horse litter signs are planned to be posted along the Causeway, and pictures of two sign designs were shown to the council and audience. Approval of the signs were requested by Gallo.
Claude Tankersley, Director of Public Works & Utilities, was on hand to present the two designs for the planned signs, each with their own message: "Leave Only Hoofprints" and "Clean Up After Your Horse" (the latter, he said, being for people that "don't respond well to subtlety.")
Gallo said that, if the city desires to ban horses from the beach, all other animals, including dogs, would be banned as well (Gallo advised that dog waste tends to have a much higher bacteria rating than that of horses).
Councilman Bemis Smith said that he was supportive of the sign measure. "It's an aesthetic issue," he said, stating that studies have shown that horse manure has "little to no impact on our water and health," as the typical hay diet of a horse produces little bacteria in their waste. He also said that the problem is mostly due to occasional riders, who may not be as serious as frequent riders about cleaning up after their rides. "Hopefully the signs will be enough education to let riders know that ... they can't kill the goose that laid the golden egg."
The council approved the anti-litter signs by a vote of 5-0.
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