Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse
The face behind New York City’s controversial horse carriage industry was caught on camera Wednesday giving passengers a ride in the searing heat in apparent violation of the law.
Spokeswoman Christina Hansen began and ended a tour with passengers after the city officially suspended drivers from operating because of the heat.
A video posted on YouTube shows Hansen in Central Park collecting money from passengers after they stepped off her carriage yesterday afternoon nearly 90 minutes after the suspension went into effect.
“I don’t know why she thinks she’s above the law,” said Allie Feldman, executive director of NYCLASS, a non-profit animal rights group, who took the video with her smartphone.
Feldman said there were no other drivers around at the time.
“It shows the lawlessness of this industry. They have no regard for doing the right thing for these animals. What kind of person would do that to an animal?”
Under city law, drivers are required to suspend operation and return horses to their stables when the temperature reaches 90 degrees, as it did Wednesday afternoon.
The suspension ruling was issued at 12:37 p.m. The video is time-stamped at 1:54.
Hansen said she had not seen the video, but did not deny being its subject.
The driver said she picked up several passengers shortly before 1 p.m. for an hour-long drive, but did not realize the suspension had gone into effect.
She said there were other drivers operating at the time.
She said a mounted police officer who would have been responsible for enforcing the ban said nothing to her about the suspension.
“I believed myself to be in compliance with the law,” Hansen said. “I never received notice of suspension from the police officer or anyone else.”
Hansen said she walked the horse, an 8-year-old steed named Sara, to her stable when the trip was over.