West Ashley resident charged in horse carriage incident

West Ashley resident charged in horse carriage incident
May 19 19:14 2017 Print This Article

West Ashley resident Nicole Wells turned herself in to the Charleston Police Department Friday morning in the aftermath of an accident in which a horse carriage tipped over Thursday afternoon near Tommy Condon’s on Church Street. Wells was dressed in an orange dinosaur costume and spooked the carriage horses. Carriage driver Van Sturgeon was thrown from the carriage and broke his foot. The 16 passengers were not hurt.  Wells has been charged with bodily injury and concealing her identity and was released on a personal recognizance bond.

Palmetto Carriage Works owner Tommy Doyle remarked at a press conference, “We’ve seen the attacks (on horse carriages) getting more and more brazen, and we fear that the result will be the death of one of our family, a guest or an animal. These attacks follow the increasingly irresponsible rhetoric from organizations that have one goal, and that goal is to end carriage tours in Charleston.”

One of the organizations which has been critical of the horse carriage tours is Charleston Animal Society, which offers cats, dogs and other house pets for adoption in its North Charleston shelter.  Charleston Animal Society has claimed that the carriage companies have mistreated their horses, although no evidence has been presented to indicate that.  Doyle said, “We treat our horses and mules like family.”  He noted that there have been multiple incidents of animal rights activists shouting at carriage drivers and passengers and attempting to startle horses.  He described the confrontations as part of a “culture of disrespect.”

See Palmetto Carriage Works summary of the adversarial relationship with Charleston Animal Society here:  https://www.facebook.com/notes/charleston-carriage-works/mr-joe-elmore-and-the-charleston-animal-society/1883373165243677/.  There are no references to the carriage tours on the Charleston Animal Society website.  The organization’s Facebook page did offer a $2500 reward to reveal the identity of the person who spooked the horses before Wells turned herself in to police.