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Friday, November 11, 2011

Tombstone's tinkle trail ends at 'sandbox'

By Robert Alcaraz
Arizona-Sonora News Service

Thursday, 10 November 2011 04:20 - Like tourists, horses are common on Tombstone’s streets.

And most of them – horses and tourists – are properly potty trained.

Tom Clark, an employee of Old Tombstone Tours, a stagecoach business that carries tourists and educates them about the town’s history, said his company has taught its horses how to urinate in only one place, and it wasn’t a difficult process.

“They know when to go,” said Clark, who has worked for the tour firm nearly a decade. “We take them down to the sandbox twice every day, usually around noon and 3 in the afternoon.”

The “sandbox” is a small dirt patch located behind the visitors’ parking lot near Town Hall. The horses are allowed to urinate only there.

To keep the town streets clean of the other waste product, Old Tombstone Tours’ horses are fitted with diapers.

“We don’t ever get complaints,” Clark said. “There have been a few instances where people have complained, but I think that is more about the people running the business rather than the actual horses.”

Mike Carrafa, a local bar owner who is building his second bar after his first one was destroyed by fire last year, said he has had problems with the horses. At one time, “we could always smell the horse piss in the dry heat,” he said. “In the winter it would be even worse because the winds would blow the smell inside our bar.”

Carrafa said the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality was contacted last year to resolve the issue, but as of now nothing has been done in terms of stopping the pee parade behind the parking lot.

But George Barnes, the town’s manager/city clerk, said the designated urinating spot is working out quite well.

“It’s just this little corner behind the parking lot that isn’t hurting anybody,” he added. “It is maintained, and it is just one of those things that has worked out pretty well so far.”

Dusty Escapule, Old Tombstone Tours’ owner, refused to comment on the issue.

Another version of this story appeared in the Tombstone Epitaph.

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