According to a story on TheWrap.com, GroundhogGate started when Mayor de Blasio participated in a Groundhog Day event February 2. In front of hundreds of spectators and dozens of press cameras, de Blasio held up a groundhog who had just predicted six more weeks of winter, when the rodent suddenly wiggled free and was dropped by the Mayor. The groundhog, who was actually a female named Charlotte on loan from the Staten Island Zoo, was found dead a week later. An autopsy revealed Charlotte died from internal injuries consistent with a fall, but zoo officials insist it was from a fall after the de Blasio drop. Officials did not provide details as to how a groundhog in a cage could suffer a fall greater and more lethal than being dropped by the 6'2" de Blasio.
Of course, PETA is up in arms over the situation, but refuses to blame De Blasio. "We are sure that Mayor Bill de Blasio, who cares about animals, will be devastated," PETA said in a statement. "The blame lies with the organizers, and PETA has been after them for years - and still is - to stop disturbing and tossing around a groundhog for this gimmick.”
PETA did not explain their logic in insisting that organizers of the event are responsible for Charlotte's death, while de Blasio escapes criticism, even though he promoted and participated in the event, and likely provided the fatal drop.
PETA has reason to cover for de Blasio. He recently backed a ban on horse drawn carriages in the city, something the group has been fighting for years, even though the carriages enjoy wide support from New York City residents.
In the case of Charlotte the groundhog, PETA didn't need to throw the animal under the bus. They just let the liberal Democrat drop it.
Note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly noted that horse-drawn carriages were banned in New York City. There is no ban in place, and a ban is currently not under consideration by the city council. We regret the error.