The above picture is a familiar sight to Mets fans as they walk toward the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. And it pisses me off every time.
What kind of life is this? "Coffee" is dressed up and forced to sit upright for hours on end so that her owner can make an easy buck.
I don't blame fans for snagging a quick selfie for their Insta. But it's not cute, it's animal cruelty played out right in front of our noses. Casual fans might assume this is a random appearance and not think twice. It's not.
Every game Coffee and her friend (not sure of the name) panhandle outside the ballpark. The doggie union must have finally stepped in, because they seem to take turns now. Rain or shine, chilly nights or the dead of summer, they're out there.
Back in 2011, this did garner some media attention and there was an investigation that found no wrongdoing, but it's been crickets ever since. This Facebook page was created, but hasn't posted about the situation since 2014. Not quite sure why the outrage stopped, but Norberto Fernandez is still making money hand-over-fist thanks to, what are basically, his slaves.
The Mets did release a statement in 2011. "We have addressed the matter with the NYPD and the Parks Department. As the Mets plaza is an open public space on parkland, the Mets cannot control access."
Supposedly Coffee was a rescue that was taken off the streets and given a home. Word is that Norberto is a dog trainer, which in theory sounds like a noble cause. But if he's taking these dogs in to be his employees, that's some bullshit.
While not confirmed, it's been speculated that the dogs are scared into submission from the use of a shock collar hidden under a bandana. When checked up on, it wasn't in use, but I've seen the collar and remote with my own eyes on numerous occasions.
This world is filled with hustlers, and I have no problem tossing bucks to street performers. Learn an instrument, show off their talents, sing, dance. If this guy is abusing a dog and profiting from it to boot? That's disgusting.
Since this seems to be out of the Mets' control, we should try to take it upon ourselves to spread the word. Stop giving money to Norberto. Maybe he'll have to start working for himself.