- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 8, 2015

Stay away from the groundhog. That’s the message Staten Island Zoo Groundhog Day officials are sending to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, after he let Charlotte slip from his hands last year — and she died from internal injuries a week later.

The zoo has put forth a new Groundhog Day policy that keeps this year’s animal safe and sound inside a Plexiglas case, the New York Post reported. The mayor’s not offended.

“I think reform is needed,” he said at a recent news conference for a different matter, The Associated Press reported. “I welcome a new approach.”

Charlotte — who was actually a female stand-in for the more famous Chuck — squirmed and fell from Mr. de Blasio’s hands last February. The animal died a week later from internal injuries, an autopsy showed, AP said.

The zoo didn’t inform Mr. de Blasio of Charlotte’s death, AP reported.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg had his own issues with Groundhog Day. In 2009, a feisty Chuck actually bit him on the hand, AP said.

Mr. de Blasio, however, expressed optimism that this year’s ceremony on Feb. 2 would go smoother.

“I must say last time, there was not an overwhelming amount of preparation and orientation before I was handed him,” he said, AP reported. “May he rest in peace.”

The zoo has four groundhogs, AP said.

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