'Can I claim my dog as a dependent?' NYC's 311 system turns 20

File: A customer service representative monitors the phones at the new 311 service center on Maiden Lane that is to be up and running by February. Taken January 17, 2003. (Photo by Susan Watts/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

"Can you tell me the steps for boiling a live chicken?"

"Can I claim my dog as a dependent on my taxes?"

New York City officials on Thursday marked two decades of the city's 311 nonemergency answering system by releasing a top-20 list of those and other memorable calls.

Mayor Eric Adams said the 311 system has received 525 million contacts by phone, text and other means since its inception in March 2003. He said the service "has become an indispensable resource for New Yorkers looking to make a noise complaint, report a cleanliness issue, learn whether alternate side parking is in effect and so much more."

Adams said in a news release that the city’s first-ever 311 call was for a noise complaint in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens.

Baltimore was the first U.S. city to use 311 for nonemergency calls in 1996. New York City’s 311 system was inaugurated by then-mayor Mike Bloomberg on March 9, 2003 and grew to become the nation’s largest such service.

File: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg walks through the 311 Customer Service Center after the city information hotline received its 50,000,000th call June 20, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

New York's anniversary celebration also marked the release of a "State of 311 Report" outlining the service's expansion from a phone-based system to include texts, social media posts, website submissions, chat support and a mobile app.

The top inquiry of 2004, the first full year of reporting, was for the removal of appliances using freon, city officials said, while the top inquiry of 2022 was about a parking ticket or speed camera violation.

Some questions and complaints may have been difficult for operators to answer.

The full list, as provided by the mayor's office:

  1. A cat is terrorizing someone through a screen door. (2003)
  2. I’d like to file a noise complaint against my refrigerator. (2004)
  3. Can you tell me the steps for boiling a live chicken? (2005)
  4. Can I claim my dog as a dependent on my taxes? (2006)
  5. Who won "American Idol"? (2007)
  6. How long does a baseball game typically last? (2008)
  7. Can I use Medicaid for my cat’s surgery? (2009)
  8. Can you check if my boyfriend is married? (2009)
  9. Is there a law limiting how many times you can flush the toilet? (2013)
  10. What is the best pizza near me? (Multiple years)
  11. When does Santa land in Manhattan? (Multiple years)
  12. A raccoon is eating lasagna on my porch. (2014)
  13. Do dogs see in black & white or in color? (2015)
  14. I’d like to report a ghost in my window. (2015)
  15. How do I cook a turkey for Thanksgiving? (2016)
  16. I’d like to report my neighbor for waving to everyone on the block. (2018)
  17. A goat is tied to the stairwell in my building. (2016)
  18. If a couple is divorced, can they still live in the same house but in different rooms? (2019)
  19. Can someone spray the trees so the leaves stop falling? (2022)
  20. Can you transfer me to a "UFO-ologist"? (2023)