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Fuzzy Critters Have Been Delaying Subway Rides for at Least 86 Years

By Nicole Levy | October 10, 2016 4:32pm

Animals have been stopping New York City in its tracks for decades.

Just this Sunday, a black kitten delayed service on the 7 line for about an hour when straphangers spotted it prowling around the westbound roadbed of the Fifth Avenue station, the New York Daily News reported. Transit workers and police officers rescued the feline from under a metal grate, where it had taken shelter.

But long ago, on the morning of Nov. 3, 1929, a train halted suddenly to avoid killing "a large gray stray dog of uncertain lineage ... trotting amiably along the Bay Ridge tracks of the [Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit]," the New York Times reported. A second train smashed into the first, injuring the motorman, the conductor and six passengers.

The dog, however, was unscathed.

The pooch bounded away while an ambulance surgeon tended to the casualties, setting, as New York Magazine sees it, a precedent for track and train-trespassing critters citywide.

Here's a whole litter of furballs we charge with stealing commuters' hearts and time in the past few years:

► Waltz, the shaggy poodle mix

Waltz(Photo courtesy of Animal Care Centers of New York City)

Waltz briefly delayed 6 trains one July morning earlier this year after he was found riding a Manhattan-bound train all by his lonesome self. The MTA notified the NYPD, and police officers escorted the collarless, shaggy pup to the Animal Care Centers of New York City. There, ACC staff gave him a haircut and a moniker appropriate to the day's naming theme: dances.

► Orlando, the seeing-eye Labrador

Orlando(DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg)

It's a good thing Orlando, an 11-year-old black Labrador, was with his owner Cecil Williams when the blind man and his canine companion fell into the railbed at West Harlem's 125th Street station on a December morning in 2013. 

"He tried to hold me up," Williams told the Associated Press. "The dog saved my life."

After toppling off the station platform, Williams and Orlando lay in the ditch between rails as almost two cars of an uptown A train passed over them before screeching to a halt. Williams suffered minor head injuries, but his loyal hound was uninjured.

► George, the black cat 

(QuestImagery.com/Deirdre Hamill)

Superstition says seeing a black cat is bad omen — at least during your afternoon rush hour. 

Spooked by train noises at TriBeCa's Canal Street station on a trip home from the vet's in July 2015, a black cat named George broke free from his leash and hid inches from the third rail.

The MTA cut power to the tracks and suspended E train service until two transit officers could scoop him up.

George's little adventure ended up delaying or rerouting a total of 83 trains on the A, B, C, D, E and F lines. 

► Arthur and August, kitten brothers

Arthur and August(Photo courtesy of Animal Care & Control of NYC)

On a weekday afternoon in August 2013, two 8-week-old kittens briefly shut down service on the B and Q lines when they wandered onto the right-of-way at the Church Avenue station in Flatbush. Rescued from the tracks by MTA officials and NYPD officers, the felines made quite the splash in the news cycle when then-mayoral candidate and former MTA chairman Joe Lhota said he wouldn't have shut down the trains and agitated straphangers to save them from danger.

Arthur and August were later adopted by a married couple living in Prospect Heights.