On Tuesday night, I left the office later than usual to wait out the subway delays caused by the rain and fire. When I got to my train platform, it was after 7 p.m., and less crowded than I'm used to—one passenger waiting alongside me was a large, fluffy dog.

The dog boarded the relatively empty train car with its humans, and decided it would rather stand. S/he was a very good dog for the two stops I rode alongside it, and I decided to share a video of the happy creature on Twitter.

To my surprise, the MTA's NYC Transit account sent a reply tweet, urging me to bring this dog to justice:

Naturally, the MTA's suggestion that I call 911 on a dog confused some NYC Transit Twitter followers:

If I wanted to notify the MTA about this, I am very familiar with how to complain about subway matters. I viewed this as a cute subway distraction, sorta like Falkor taking mass transit. Not something that needed to take up the precious time of a 911 dispatcher.

The MTA agrees, and walked back their initial response this afternoon, claiming, "One of our colleagues was mistaken in his response. Please do not call 911 unless there is an emergency. We love cute doggos as much as you — but they need to be in carriers while riding on a train."

The great lesson learned: always post your dog-on-a-subway pics on your finsta.

And yes, dogs are supposed to be "enclosed in a container and carried in a manner which would not annoy other passengers," according to MTA ruleslike in this backpack. Do they enforce this? Yes. One woman was arrested in 2009 for holding her sick dog outside of a bag. But late last year, a law was passed allowing dogs to travel on the subway outside of containers during times of natural disaster (the state of the subway system is more of a man-made disaster).

Earlier this year, Native New Yorker Jake Dobkin, while tackling the subject on dogs taking up subway seats, gave this general advice:

What should you do if you see a dog, or its owner, doing the wrong thing? The same thing New Yorkers always do: Consider the situation carefully and run a fast calculation if it’s worth the trouble. You basically have two potential types of owners—the oblivious and the crazy. If it’s the former, a simple “excuse me, the seats are only for animals wearing pants” will do the trick, but if it is the latter, you could be seeing yourself in a viral WorldStarHipHop video very soon. Sometimes appearances can be deceiving: a vicious looking pitbull can be quite gentle, and a semi-normal looking leash-holder can turn out, in a second, to be a raving lunatic. So if the subway car is empty, or the dog is sitting quietly between its owner’s feet, perhaps let it go.

If not, at least exercise some common sense: never touch an animal without its owner’s permission, even if it is sitting on a subway bench. Give the dog and its owner enough distance that neither can lunge at you, and then speak your request politely and loudly: “Hi! I know your dog is probably a seasoned commuter and is tired after a long day of dog work or studies, but it’s really unhygienic for an animal to sit up there.” Etc. If you are rebuffed, take it with the equanimity that we natives have developed after many years of seeing people behaving badly in transit. Or go tell the conductor, an MTA employee, or (if it’s safe) take a picture and send it to 311—likely no one is going to do anything to help, but maybe it’ll make you feel better