In case you somehow forgot, Mayor de Blasio dropped the Staten Island Zoo’s groundhog on Groundhog Day last year, and then the groundhog died. (Was it murder? Was there a cover-up? These questions remain hotly contested.) The zoo has since decided to bar mayors from holding groundhogs during the annual weather forecasting ritual — and they’d better make sure they stick to that policy. In an article recalling last year’s grisly episode, The Wall Street Journal revealed that the USDA recently determined that “the zoo violated the federal Animal Welfare Act in 2014. The agency cited the use of an ‘untrained person’ to handle the groundhog.” The fallout just won’t stop.
Meanwhile, on Friday, de Blasio vowed not to harm any groundhogs come February 2. Now it seems like he might not even get the opportunity: When asked if the mayor would attend this year’s ceremony, a spokesperson told the WSJ, “Ask Staten Island Zoo.” Maybe it’s better this way.