There’s no horsing around when it comes to animal rights in Hollywood.
The commission agreed Wednesday that the city’s 23-year-old ban on animals appearing in live displays on public property, such as circuses and parades, will remain, with one caveat.
Now, organizations can appeal to the commission for special permission.
But the ban will not stop the Budweiser Clydesdales from trotting down Hollywood Boulevard as part of the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, the commission decided Wednesday.
The reason: the horses have educational value, the commission decided.
“They are for educational purposes,” said Commissioner Traci Callari, who is on the St. Patrick’s Day committee. “The Clydesdales are amazing, beautiful creatures.”
City spokeswoman Raelin Storey said that when the parade committee had the chance to secure the Clydesdales, city staff looked at the ordinance and questioned whether it would be allowed.
The 1990 ordinance, drafted by Alan Koslow, was lauded at the time as being one of the strictest bans on animal appearances in the nation.
When the commission began talking about loosening the regulation on Wednesday, many were on hand to oppose the idea. Former Commissioner Cathy Anderson feared the change would encourage more animal exhibits.
Don Anthony, spokesman for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, said the city should only strengthen its rules, not weaken them.
“Rights are added, never eliminated,” he said.
Hollywood resident and animal activist Carolina Alig said the commission needs to think of the animals.
“Please protect their rights and be the voice the animals don’t have,” she said.
Koslow said Wednesday that the commission “struck a delicate balance.”
“It would have been better if they just left it alone,” he said. “But what they did ensures public hearings.”
Others expressed approval that the Clydesdales will be able to take part in the parade.
Already in South Florida to appear in the Fort Lauderdale St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival on Saturday, the Budweiser Clydesdales are expected to be a hit in Hollywood on Sunday, as well.
On Wednesday, the horses were on public display at the Fort Lauderdale Police Mounted Unit stables, along with a petting zoo and pony rides.
First introduced as the Budweiser Clydesdales in 1933, today the traveling team of Clydesdales log thousands of miles a year to perform in parades, rodeos and fairs.
To qualify for one of the traveling “hitches,” a Budweiser Clydesdale must be a gelding that is at least 4 years old, stand 72 inches at the shoulder, weigh between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds, have a bay coat, four white legs, a white blaze, and black mane and tail.
According to Anheuser-Busch, each horse typically consumes as much as 25 quarts of whole grains, minerals and vitamins, along with 60 pounds of hay and 30 gallons of water a day.
The Hollywood parade will take place in downtown Hollywood along Hollywood Boulevard starting at 1 p.m. Sunday.
But the public won’t have to wait until then to see one.
On Friday, crews will be painting shamrocks along the route. In addition to the commissioners and parade committee members, one of the horses will be on hand Friday afternoon.
But plan for traffic getting there. Eastbound lanes will be shut to traffic from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. while the work is being done.