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Niagara Falls
Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Time to move on, says owner of horse and carriage business

Protesters against the horse and carriage businesses in Niagara-on-the-Lake say they aren't giving up.

Adam Stirr, spokesperson for At War For Animals Niagara said they've been protesting in the Old Town for the last eight months, and plan to continue doing so.

Their aim is to prevent animals from being put to work for humans, and they object to horses being used to pull carriages.

Karen Taylor-Jones, who started Locals for Carriages to support the local horse-drawn carriage trade, said her group isn't going anywhere either, but she is looking at options for continuing to safely show their support, most likely holding their own protests on days when the animal rights group is not in the Old town.

The Niagara Regional Police, with Lord Mayor Pat Darte and town staff, tried to ensure the safety of all involved in Saturday's protest, by suggesting counter-protesters stay away, and asking the two carriage business owners to keep their horses at home for the day, which they did. 

The protesters were back on their corner in town Sunday, in fewer numbers, and although both sides claimed there were incidents of intimidation tactics, there was no one hurt and no charges laid by Monday morning.

Darte, who was criticized by some in social media for allowing the animal rights group to protest while asking local supporters to stay home, said his goal was to ensure the safety of all involved, including the horses. He was in the Old Town Saturday along with members of the NRP to monitor the situation, and said he was asked by locals why he can't just stop the protests.

He said he doesn't believe the Town can deny anyone the right to protest as long as no laws are broken, but he is looking at other options to help keep future protests under control.

Laura Sentineal of Sentineal Carriages says she just wants to put the weekend behind her and move on. She's grateful to everyone who showed their support, but recognizes ongoing protests will impact the town.

“This is no longer about Sentineal Carriages,” she said in a message to her supporters.

“It is imperative that our heritage district be protected to ensure everyone's safety and enjoyment.”

She said she looks forward to working with Darte, Town staff and all concerned to develop a strategy to move forward and protect Old Town.



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