Since June 2017, New York City Subway commuters have been prohibited from bringing any animal onto a subway train unless said creature is "enclosed in a container and carried in a manner which would not annoy other passengers," according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) guidelines.
Knowing this, one commuter decided to convert a burlap sack into a practical and functional carrier for his dog.
Despite his creative effort, footage taken by journalist Will Courtney shows that the owner's April 7 attempt to commute across the city was brought to a screeching halt as the (apparently) problematic pooch caught the eye of an MTA conductor.
Saw this guy arguing with an @MTA conductor about bringing his dog on the subway. Dude said the dog’s burlap sack was a bag; conductor said nope, wouldn’t let him on the train. @Gothamist @A_W_Gordon @2AvSagas #NYCSubway pic.twitter.com/qjgN5anKV3— Will Sabel Courtney (@WillSCourtney) April 7, 2019
Despite MTA rules and regulations not mentioning the need for the "container" to be specifically called a "bag," the conductor is overheard making a fuss about how the dog is "in a wrap," rather than a bag.
"What is a bag but a wrap?" the owner retorts, entertaining the employee's semantic argument before the train departs.
Since its Sunday posting, the clip has sparked a number of discussions and disagreements related to the subway's carrier policy parameters.
Even at the beginning of the subway rule change in 2017, owners were quick to stretch the rules pertaining to what an "enclosed container" could possibly be.
New Yorkers' banned dogs in bags on the New York City Subway Part 2: pic.twitter.com/K3jH3O3S7l— Anna Massoglia (@annalecta) June 7, 2017
Many pet owners began to laud IKEA's classic blue shopping bags as the number one carrier in terms of affordability, space and structural integrity.
Almost two years later, it would appear nothing much has changed to clarify the MTA guidelines and accurately advise commuters who may need to get their pet to the vet or have some other type of emergency.
On the contrary, the MTA rules simply state that they give their employees the "right to refuse admission to or eject any passenger accompanied by an animal, including a service animal," which would appear more fair to some if the guidelines were cut and dry.
As a New Yorker who commutes on the subway daily, I can honesty say I would prefer that dog in that quasi-bag to 99.7% of the people allowed on the train…— Kimberly Saltz (@kimberly_saltz) April 8, 2019
My civil liberties feel violated. If you can lift the dog it's a lap dog. Respect the man's core strength.— James Bradbury (@CanonShotJames) April 8, 2019
I’m really not sure why that’s the rule. Been in many public transportation systems that treat dogs the way the city does on the street: the owner’s responsibility. See these cuties in Zürich’s tram and Münich’s U-Bahn, respectively. pic.twitter.com/k8tr5QdErT— David Jalbert-Ga… (@jalbertgagnier) April 8, 2019
MTA should learn from Europe where we can take our dogs everywhere, trams, buses,trains……— Estela Landeros (@elanderosd) April 8, 2019
Those on the other side of the fence, however, were not alone in their arguments against the man's choice of carrier or in favor of the policy's enforcement.
The only thing I'm focused on is that there's no way that dog feels comfortable.— Margaret 📸 (@MargaretLovell) April 8, 2019
No one is allergic to shopping carts.— Ash J (@AshAgony) April 8, 2019
DOGS.SHOULD.STAY.OUT.OF.SUBWAYS.RESTAURANTS.STORES. If you are so emotionally unable to cope without your dog, stay home. Or move to New Jersey.— Jonathan Tasini (@jonathantasini) April 9, 2019
Poor dog, I hope the circulation in his little paws is still flowing properly despite the "bag" in which he is contained………— Suzanne (@SuzanneFLCPA) April 8, 2019
One local also offered his version of a practical solution to the whole carrier debacle.
What kind of New Yorker stands next to the conductor if you're doing something close to the limit of the rule? Stand by the first or second car and get on quickly and quietly and nobody will notice or say anything other than how cute your dog is.— Jesse [REDACTED] Sands (@TheJesseSands) April 8, 2019