Pets

Michigan Woman Jailed Over Tardy Dog License Fee

It's $10 now or 90 days later.

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BBC

The Associated Press reports that a Michigan woman was arrested, frisked, and detained for three hours in a holding cell at the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office because she missed the deadline for renewing her dog's license. "They frisked me and put me in this intake cell with all these inmates in orange jumpsuits," Becky Rehr told A.P. "I was pretty nervous."

Rehr is lucky she was not strip-searched, which the Supreme Court has said is constitutional even for the most trivial offenses, as long as the law allows an arrest. Depending on the jurisdiction, arrestable offenses can include possessing a tiny amount of marijuana, littering, jaywalking, failing to buckle your seat belt, and, yes, neglecting to renew a dog license, which in Michigan is a misdemeanor punishable by a $100 fine and up to 90 days in jail:

County animal control Director Steve Lawrence said his office gave the 47-year-old Cooper Township woman numerous phone, mail and in-person notices of the need to renew the license. The last was a phone warning that a warrant would be requested unless she got a license by May 28….

"We prefer not for this stuff to go to court," Lawrence told The Associated Press. "It's just a $10 license. For some reason, some people like to make it hard for themselves."

Rehr, who faces a hearing today, was arrested when she showed up at the sheriff's office on June 23 with proof that she had belatedly renewed the license. Her 14-year-old daughter was waiting in the car outside the station when her mom was busted. Rehr said she had "every intention of taking care of it. But with the end of the school year and my job, it just totally got put on the back burner."

Although proof of rabies vaccination is a prerequisite for a dog license, the license itself is an additional requirement that amounts to a pet tax. A $10 pet tax. So while Lawrence wonders why someone would risk jail over something so trivial, you might also wonder why the government would threaten people with jail for failing to cough up their 10 bucks on time. But if you do, you probably are not qualified to be a state legislator.

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  1. No single law, regulation, or administrative rule is imposed without the threat of physical violence.

    She could have been shot, and the officer would have gotten a paid vacation.

  2. Just shows to go ya the validity of one of my favorite maxims:

    Government is force. Its only purpose is to prohibit or compel; coercion is its core competence and violence its tool.

    1. Exactly.

      Every proposal for a new ordinance, fee, etc. etc. needs to be met with the question:

      “Is this really worth jailing people over?” If the answer is no, then the government shouldn’t do it.

      It really is no more complicated than that.

      1. It shouldn’t even be legal to jail people over offenses like this. By a reasonable standard, this sort of thing is ‘cruel and unusual’, but the sad fact is that the state can potentially be much more cruel and using this amount of severity to punish triviality is not at all unusual.

      2. My version is: “Would you personally kill someone to enforce this rule?”

        If not, then the rule is probably unnecessary.

  3. This is going on the Puppycide Database Project blog with a ht for Reason of course!)

    After spending a year compiling thousands of reports of police murdering pets and their owners, this Kafkaesque trampling of civil rights almost strikes me as a pleasant intermission.

  4. Bitch better have their money…

  5. “We prefer not for this stuff to go to court,” Lawrence told The Associated Press. “It’s just a $10 license. For some reason, some people like to make it hard for themselves.”

    Derp.

    1. Yeah, so this shitbird has no trouble with this outcome even though the woman had proof she had complied… scum.

    2. For some reason, some people like to make it hard for themselves,

      Oh yeah, for some reason I just love not following the exact letter of the law and incidentally getting myself arrested.

      1. Dumbass totally avoids his own responsibility.

        She didn’t make it hard on herself. You and your goons made it hard on her.

        Asshole.

  6. Kalamazoo is a shithole

    It is between Chicago and Detroit, which made it the center for turf battles between rival drug gangs. Tons of poverty there mixed in with middle-class kids going to college.

    In my twenties I had a ground-floor apartment there – one night, when I was getting ready for bed, I heard someone shouting “There he is!” I was about to look out the window when I heard a pistol going off – several rounds were fired. I grabbed ground. Just another day in the “student ghetto”.

    1. I didn’t get much of that, but I did get hookers knocking on my door at 0500 asking for a ride to the bus station.

      1. Only time I got to hear gunfire…

        I knew some gents I know get attacked by a group of uh, teens – guy ended up having to get his jaw wired shut since it was broken by a baseball bat. The attack just came out of the blue – or so the story goes.

        And any number of my friends were mugged in Kalamazoo.

        I was smart enough – or maybe just lucky – to dress down: army field jacket, black t-shirt, torn jeans and ratty shoes. I never got bothered no matter where I was.

        1. Oh, house did get broken into once.

          They moved the DVD player off the VCR and took the VCR. Took the wrong remote, too.

          Also got a bass.

          1. Also got a bass.

            Striped? Largemouth? C’mon, man, I’m on the edge of my keyboard, here!

            1. They took Meghan Trainor?

    2. At least Maggie’s is open again.

  7. I think she’ll also be charged for removing the label from the couch cushion.

    1. Just don’t mess with the mattress tag…

      https://youtu.be/I-RMOKEFeG0?t=95

      1. I liked the version Harold Ramis & Andrea Martin did the 1st yr. of SCTV:

        “What happens if I remove this tag?”
        “No, don’t!”
        Rip?mattress explodes, leaving them blackened.

        “How about this tag on your pajamas?”
        Pajamas inflate like self-inflating flotation device, trapping wearer.

        Voice-over warning & titles.

  8. “We prefer not for this stuff to go to court,” Lawrence told The Associated Press. “It’s just a $10 license. For some reason, some people like to make it hard for themselves.”

    Fuuuuuuuuuck you.

    “I hate when you make me hit you.”

  9. Michigan is so hard up for money. I’ve often said that I’m surprised they don’t require all civil servants to search the sidewalks for loose change on their work breaks. I seems that almost every move they make is towards gathering their god, money. Kalamazoo is also where they have busted post growers and took anything off the property that they figured they could sell at auction. Michigan is is in the toilet and just waiting to be flushed.

    Just waiting to sell my house and I’m out of this state. Yeah, I know, every place has its problems, but I’m really tired of Michigan’s.

  10. So there are Dog Nazis now?

    We registered Nina with the county when we got her, but never renewed and we’ve never been contacted (PA).

    But the bunny huggers send out periodic press releases warning people that dog wardens (unelected and basically unaccountable) will be in our county looking for unlicensed dogs, so you better register them now or else. That’s because the dog wardens get that revenue.

    1. Dog warden who comes for my dogs better be wearing a chipper-proof body suit.

  11. you might also wonder why the government would threaten people with jail for failing to cough up their 10 bucks on time

    Because the government is an extortion racket writ large. Any good extortion racket doesn’t let “debt” payments be missed without severe repercussions, no matter how small.

  12. So while Lawrence wonders why someone would risk jail over something so trivial, you might also wonder why the government would threaten people with jail for failing to cough up their 10 bucks on time.

    Because every governmental edict has to ultimately be backed up with lethal force. If people know the mob won’t hurt them if they don’t pay — then they won’t pay.

    Unlike a non-coercive private transaction, where if you refuse to pay, they refuse to provide the service or goods. Which doesn’t work when the “service” is them taking your money in exchange for nothing at all, because who is going to voluntarily accept such a raw deal?

    1. Let’s extrapolate that argument a bit. If the state were so good and necessary, it wouldn’t need to be financed and imposed through aggressive violence.

  13. Remember the old insult about how some flunky ‘couldn’t get elected as dog catcher’?
    Well, it seems that the officious high-school hall monitor can get elected, and backed by our oh-so-benevolent government, can make your life hell. So it turns out that pathetic slime balls are dangerous, too.

  14. Nice choice of picture, Jacob.

    “Half a bee, philosophically, is ipso facto half not bee….”

  15. “It’s just a $10 license. For some reason, some people like to make it hard for themselves.”

    His hands were tied. There was nothing he could do. He was just following … err, enforcing the law.

    At little honesty would go a long way toward making me view these people with less disdain: “we imprisoned this woman because she didn’t obey some of our petty edicts in what we consider a timely fashion.”

    1. My question is why is there a law in the first place. If I buy the dog, feed the dog and otherwise take care of the dog what right does some bureaucrat have to stick is grubby paws in my pocket. You yankees need to have another revolution and get your freedoms back.

  16. About $2000 in administrative costs later they got their $10.

    I’m surprised child protective services didn’t take her kid.

    1. According to the article, they’d already gotten their $10. The $2 grand administrative costs were for art’s sake.

  17. Things like this show how little freedom there is in this country. I sometimes wonder why they haven’t put a tax on breathing yet.

  18. If pig shoots dog would the fine be forgiven?

  19. On the wall in my office I have a saying by Friedrich Nietzsche: “Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong.” That would be America, with 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s imprisoned population, and making more laws all the time to incarcerate more people. Totalitarian can now be spelled America.

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