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Carriage Driver Accused of Working Horse in Hot Weather Says She's Being Threatened With Violence

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TWC News: Carriage Driver Accused of Working Horse in Hot Weather Says She's Being Threatened With Violence
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The heat wave has tempers flaring over the treatment of horses, as a carriage driver accused of working her animal in the hot weather says she's now being threatened with violence, even as she claims she did nothing wrong.

While the horses cooled their hooves, those protesting in their name took over the sweaty sidewalk.

They want Christina Hansen punished. She's a carriage driver and spokeswoman for the drivers.

She insisted there's no reason for her to go.

"I was in 100 percent in compliance with the law, both in the letter of the law and the spirit of the law," Hansen said.

That law requires that drivers stable their horses when the mercury tops 90, as it did on July 2.

The NYPD said the order went out at 12:37 pm, but an anti-carriage group said video shows Hansen out close to 2 p.m.

"She's an absolutely poor example of how you treat an animal," said Allie Feldman of NYCLASS.

Hansen countered that the officer in charge never informed her of the temperature before she took passengers on a long ride. Once she saw that other carriages left, she did, too.

She said the horse with her that day is totally fine. The Department of Health didn't ticket her. Officials there said drivers are given a grace period.

Still, Mayor Bill de Blasio says horse carriages need to go.

"There will be, obviously, a legislative process and hearings and a public process, but it's something I believe we have to do," he said.

Protesters want an immediate ban. Some even want Hansen arrested.

"Genuinely, people who abuse animals have a tendency to abuse people as well," Feldman said. "That's actually one of the common factors that you see in domestic violence and serial killers, is abuse of animals."

Opponents of horse-drawn carriages are the ones who called this rally, but as has the been the case in the past, advocates for carriage drivers also showed up to try to get their side of the story out.

"The type of organizing that these groups engage in create an extremely hostile environment where Christina Hansen has received threats online," said Bernadette Kelly of Teamsters Joint Council 16.

A screen shot Hansen provided is posted at left.

Carriage opponents said they scrub their Facebook page for hostile language. They said they, too, are often the target from the other side.

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