A St. Paul llama (maybe) tried boarding a city bus. Then what?

Hey St. Paul, anyone recognize this llama?

Hey St. Paul, anyone recognize this llama? Twitter

We'll tell you what: It showed up on Twitter.

Actually, first it made Snapchat, where the original image appeared with an incredulous and regionally specific caption. (Click through to Twitter to see what we mean.)

Then it was posted to Twitter, where a user skipped right past the obvious question -- whether this is an authentic street scene or a staged/photoshopped joke -- and got to the one that really matters.

Metro Transit employed a classic government agency PR tactic, deflecting the inquiry with a couple of its own.

Other thoughts that come up:

Sweet hair; where does one get that?

Is it friends with that dude? Or is he just letting it on first to avoid getting spit upon?

Why's it taking the 16, which runs down University from the Midway area to downtown St. Paul and back? Headed to or from a Minnesota United game? Train leaving from Union Depot? Hungry for grass from in front of the State Capitol, which (we hear) makes for excellent chud?

Is this... allowed?

It's this last one we can almost answer, and we are pleased to report: Maybe?

Met Council spokesman John Schadl says attempts to confirm or refute this animal's "attempted boarding" of a bus proved fruitless:

While it’s true that everyone is welcome to ride our buses, and we work to accommodate certified support animals, we are not aware of an instance where a “support llama” and his human have utilized our service.

Schadl did, however, entertain the hypothetical scenario of a person saying they need a llama to assist with a condition of some kind. Turns out, the Department of Justice has restricted the definition of support animals to just two kinds: "dogs and miniature horses." (Emphasis ours, brief pause to Google "how much does a miniature horse cost" yours.)

But! The Federal Transit Administration did no such thing, meaning, in Schadl's words: "Any species of service animal can be brought on public transit." It gets even better. A bus or train operator is not permitted to force you (or your llama) to produce documentation proving its role in helping you get through the day. All they can ask is "Is that a support animal?" and "What task has it been trained to perform?"

In the case of the llama, we can think of at least two, this first one, from National Geographic --

Typically, they are saddled with loads of 50 to 75 pounds. Under such weight they can cover up to 20 miles in a single day.

--and this one, from the Internet:

Schadl goes on to say the animal "must be on the floor around the rider's seat," and names the one hard-and-fast caveat to leftist's llama-loaded light rail fantasies. "Direct threat trumps all," Schadl wrote. "If an animal is disruptive in any way or is too big to fit on a vehicle without blocking an aisle (and thus preventing prompt evacuation in case of emergency) it can be barred."

Read that how you will. We choose to interpret it as encouragement to keep your pack animal in decent shape, well-behaved, and prepared to show up on Twitter lookin' fabulous.