Coffee the dog was spotted May 19 outside the front entrance of Citi Field, greeting New York Mets fans and panhandling for dollars, almost four years to the day after being profiled negatively by Deadspin.
In the Deadspin story, the writer openly questioned why the Mets allow Coffee's owner to continue to send him out to panhandle. The outlet reported that the Mets distanced themselves from the situation, with a claim that the plaza in front of Citi Field is public space that isn't under their control.
Not much has changed since the jaw-dropping story broke in 2011.
Coffee was decked out in his familiar Mets gear before the team's home game on May 19, with a pipe in his mouth and collar around his neck.
Dozens of fans stopped to take photos with the dog, before walking into Citi Field to see the Mets battle the St. Louis Cardinals. By now, Coffee is a featured attraction and well-known fan favorite. Coffee is so popular that he generates hundreds of dollars in tips for his owner during each Mets homestand.
The biggest difference between now and four years ago appears to be that the dog's owner has printed out a more professional sign to put in front of him, obviously as a way to solicit better tips.
"Thank you for the picture but don't forget, I don't like cheap people," the new sign reads. Back in 2011, Deadspin ripped into Coffee's owner, basically chocking the situation up to animal cruelty.
They noted that the dog is outside in all kinds of weather conditions, from rainy days to extremely hot, humid ones.
Deadspin linked to the "Stop Abusing Coffee" Facebook page, which has garnered over 8,000 "likes" from Mets supporters and non-fans alike.
Here's the thing: Most Mets fans seem to love Coffee. However, the fact that he is forced to work in all types of weather -- and possibly with a shock collar around his neck -- is an issue.
Is this situation a gross case of animal cruelty, or is it wholesome, family-friendly fun? Mets fans appear to be divided on the case. At the end of the day, perhaps its the ASPCA who should have the final say on the fate of Coffee and his panhandling.
After the Deadspin story broke, ASPCA officials checked out the situation, and confirmed that the dog is healthy and in good hands. As long as investigators continue to follow-up with periodic checks, there shouldn't be anything wrong with the situation.
The hope is that Coffee continues on in great health, serving as an unofficial Mets mascot for years to come.