Our mayor seems to have a hands-off approach to animals.
As the TimesLedger cartoonist Tip Sempliner pointed out last week’s in his tongue-in-cheek drawing, Mayor de Blasio appears to be eliminating our four-legged friends from his inner circle.
It’s even reached the point that the mayor has a no pets clause as part of the rental agreement for whoever signs a lease on his one-family house in Park Slope. Now it may be that someone in the de Blasio family suffers from allegories triggered by cat dander or turtle food, so we’ll give him a pass on this one.
But what about Staten Island Chuck, who it turns out was actually Charlotte in ground hog drag and died several days after the mayor inadvertently dropped her on the weather prognosticator’s holiday? In all fairness to de Blasio, the cause of Charlotte’s untimely death was never attributed to her fall from grace, but he showed no remorse at the reports of her demise.
Barraged by questions from the press about the incident, the mayor referred the reporters to the Staten Island Zoo and said he was open to just holding up a sign about the groundhog’s weather prediction next year. A spokesman for the mayor expressed regret on behalf of City Hall, but that was about it.
The ground hog would have had a better chance falling from Bloomberg’s grip even after biting him since the former mayor is only 5-foot-8, but at 6-foot-5 de Blasio presented a far greater peril to the animal kingdom on Staten Island.
And then there is the thorny issue of the horse-drawn carriages outside Central Park. The mayor is publicly committed to banning the carriages on grounds of animal cruelty, but critics contend this move would almost certainly send some of the unemployed equines to the upstate glue factory. Despite the rhetoric on both sides of this debate, this is another case of the mayor distancing himself from animals.
The carriage horse battle is somewhat clouded by the large role animal rights activists, the main force behind the carriage ban, played in de Blasio’s mayoral campaign. But as a progressive mayor, moonlight rides through Central Park don’t necessarily play well on his agenda for Corona or Canarsie.
Animals don’t vote, but they still deserve a place ‑ perhaps not on but somewhere under ‑ the mayor’s table where they can advocate for a humane shelter in Queens and lobby for other rights. Perhaps a goldfish or two would do.