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CHARLESTON, S.C. — A woman wearing an orange dinosaur costume was charged with disorderly conduct after she scared two horses pulling a carriage of tourists in South Carolina, authorities said Friday.
The owner of Palmetto Carriage Works suggested it was part of a stunt by animal activists who are becoming increasingly more brazen in protesting the popular rides in South Carolina’s main tourist destination.
But Charleston police didn’t give a reason why 26-year-old Nicole Wells dressed up like a Tyrannosaurus rex Thursday afternoon and growled at the horses as they passed.
The horses were startled and jerked the carriage, causing the driver to fall out and injure his leg when the carriage rolled over it, Charleston Police spokesman Charles Francis said in a statement.
The animals and the tourists riding in the carriage were not hurt.
Wells turned herself into police at 9:30 a.m. Friday. She was charged with disorderly conduct and wearing a mask or disguise and released, Francis said.
A phone listing for Wells couldn’t be found and it wasn’t known if she had a lawyer.
Carriage driver Van Sturgeon said he saw the dinosaur costume out of the corner of his eye about the same time the horses did.
“I screamed at her three times to get out of there,” he told reporters at a news conference. “The person in the suit did not move.”
Sturgeon said the woman in the costume stayed nearby for a few minutes after he fell before running away.
Palmetto Carriage Works owner Tom Doyle said he has seen a recent increase in people yelling at carriage tours, trying to touch the horses and other disruptions that are dangerous to animals and people. He blamed animal activists and said his company is asking for restraining orders against some people in court.
“We see the attacks getting more and more brazen,” Doyle said. “This is Charleston, the most polite city in America. We need to come together and say enough is enough.”