[Update Below] The magical horse dog you can see in the photos above was spotted on the R train today by one tipster: "It was weird as hell," they told us. "She got on at Union Square where I was. I got off at Prince. I took a bunch of pics—have some of her on the platform with that beast too." If you saw a magical creature stumbling around our urban jungle, wouldn't you do anything you could to capture its essence too?
According to the MTA, no animals are allowed on the subway "unless enclosed in a container and carried in a manner which would not annoy other passengers." Even if you're holding it in your arms, cops have been known to arrest people: in one high-profile incident, commuter Chrissie Brodigan was arrested in 2009 for not having her pug restrained in a bag (because it was sick and she was carrying it).
The only other exception to the MTA's rule are service animals (which "does not include a therapy animal or animal used for emotional support"). This dog pictured here does have a neck collar with handle, but the tipster didn't seem convinced it was servicey:
It didn't seem like a service dog to me. No sign on it or a typical type of service dog handle. She sure wasn't blind. She was just holding it on a leash, but it did have some sort of neck collar that had a handle on it too.
No one seemed scared because the dog was pretty chill but everyone, and I mean just about everyone, on the car was looking like, "what the fuck is that huge ass dog doing on the train?" When people got on and off I would say they tried give themselves a wide berth.
How did it even get through the turnstile?
Whether or not it was or wasn't a service dog, what we'd really like to know is why this lady is taking mass transit when her dog can obviously FLY?
Update: Thanks to a couple readers, we now know the woman in the photos is Estelle "Cissy" Stamm, co-founder of New York Area Assistance Dogs; and the adorable 120 pound service dog is Wargas. Stamm previously was awarded $10,000 from the city after two policemen gave her a ticket for bringing the dog into a subway station.
She sued NYC Transit for $10 million after that because, as stated above, the MTA still doesn't recognize certain kinds of service animals ("does not include a therapy animal or animal used for emotional support"). Stamm has previously said that the "dog protects her from childhood memories of sex abuse." In a comment on the Poodle and Dog Blog, she expanded upon this:
I've used a task trained service dog for 12 years to mitigate the effects of PTSD and a hearing impairment. My dogs are well trained and we have never been asked to leave a place of public accommodation because of their behavior. If there were any evidence that my dogs posed as danger to people on the transit system, that would have been a part of their defense, and they could move to ban me from the system. Nowhere is that allegation made. And the public's protection is that it is perfectly legal to eject a person with a service dog if that dog is posing a direct threat or danger. If you'll note, buried in the article is the report of an incident during which I was physically threatened. My service dog was lying at my feet and behaved as she was trained to do; she didn't even raise an eyebrow much less get up and take on a defensive position.
You can read more about her case here.