Is the Bodega Cat In NYC Legal?
The New York City area is dealing with concerns surrounding the coronavirus. Nearly a hundred people in the area have contracted the virus, although most of those cases are linked to areas north of Yonkers. Thousands of people are also in self-quarantine.
The issue is leading to worries about sanitation around the city. One topic of note surrounding sanitation entails the bodega cats people can find around the city. These are cats that help bodega owners in ensuring their properties are kept safe and free from rodent infestations. But the general legality of these cats is a point of the question.
What Is the Bodega Cat?
A bodega cat is a cat that lives in a bodega or a small convenience store in the New York area. Such a cat is a semi-feral cat that a bodega owner will attract through regular feedings.
Bodega owners use these cats as a biological form of pest control. The cat will help in finding and stopping rodents from getting into a bodega.
The concept of the bodega cat is similar to the ship cat or farm cat. The cat ensures that rodents will not enter and infest the food supplies at the bodega. The cat also prevents rodents from trying to harm the electric wiring, woodwork, or other things around the property.
The bodegas around New York use these to stay protected. Bodegas are small independent businesses run by individual owners. The name comes from the Spanish for "storeroom." Bodegas have been considered by New Yorkers to be part of the city's character.
While there are plenty of bodega cats around New York, that doesn't mean that they're legal. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene states that bodega cats are "general deficiencies." The city's Food Service Establishment Violation Penalty Schedule states that properties that sell food that keeps live animals other than service animals or fish kept in tanks can be fined. A property could be fined up to $350.
Why Bodega Owners Keep Them
Even though they aren't necessarily, bodega owners will still keep cats in their properties. The main reason is that the expenses surrounding a rodent infestation could be dramatic. An infestation can result in lost inventory and fines from the city that are even higher than any cat-related fines.
Also, bodega cats are seen as being among the most endearing residents in the city. There are various blogs and websites devoted to these cats. People who visit bodegas in their areas are appreciative of the cats, as they often make people feel a little happier.
It is unclear as to how many bodega cats are around New York. But with there being more than ten thousand of these small stores throughout the New York area, there are surely plenty of these cats all around ensuring that these properties aren't hurt by rodents. The bodega cats continue to be popular throughout the city as a unique part of the area's design to keep pests in check.