Nanny State

Michigan Woman Jailed for Failing to Renew $10 Dog License On Time

Does anyone really wonder why attitudes toward government are in the shitter?


Author's note: Jacob Sullum blogged this story first yesterday. To read his writeup, go here.

Via IJ Review (and the Twitter feed of G60TimbersFan) comes this true tale of petty tyranny in the Great Lakes State:

Her name is Becky Rehr. She may look like a mild-mannered, upstanding citizen. But in the eyes of the law enforcers in the State of Michigan, she is a fugitive outlaw who had to be brought to justice.

Her hideous crime? Not renewing a $10 dog license….

Rehr's license for her 11-year-old border collie/ springer mix Dexter was set to expire on May 28th. Disastrously for the Michigan mother, she missed the deadline.

Her lax payment must have driven the bureaucrats at the county clerk's office apoplectic, for when she appeared with proof of licensing – dated 26 days late – she wasn't treated with a handshake and a smile. She was led out to be fingerprinted, get her mugshot taken, and be thrown in the county slammer.

Rehr spent three hours in jail and released on a $100 bond. She'll appear in court next week, where she faces up to $100 in fines and 90 days in the slammer.

Because. A. Dog. License. Expired.

Which brings me to this:


Here's a story from

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  1. Wasn’t this same story covered yesterday at Hit & Run? Or is this a second woman in trouble with the law over a tardy dog license?

    1. After I read the article on this yesterday I had the Puppycide Database team take a look. We published a piece this afternoon on our findings – we looked at two states, MA and MI and found hundreds of warrants for dog licenses being processed each year. One of the women they arrested had late stage ovarian cancer (Reason had a brief post on her last year also). Licensing for pets is completely out of control – I think this will be a new part of our Project research.

  2. After the hullabaloo, they dropped the charges against her. Spotlights do tend to help rein in the worst of egregious silliness on the part of small-town law.

    1. She was still fingerprinted and caged with her kid left alone in the car. The process is the punishment.

      1. Oh, absolutely. There’s nothing about what those jack-booted thugs did that’s acceptable. Far from making them look better, their almost immediate wilting under attention shows them up to be the cheap thugs they are.
        But it could have gone worse, and didn’t largely because of the spotlight.
        We need more spotlights.

      2. So did they nab her for child abuse for leaving her unattended child in a car?


        Jesus – slackers.

  3. repeat, repeat, repeat

  4. Those idiots missed a great opportunity to swatsack her house and shoot the dog in question… Freaking amateur Statists, no damn style.

    1. What about putting her on a giant hamster wheel to help generate some green energy? Who could be against that?

    2. There’s an idea — point out that when cops shoot dogs, the State loses licensing monies.

      Set ’em at each others’ throats.

  5. Libertarian moment?

    Yeah, my attitude about government is that we certainly need less of it, until oh, I just remembered it’s time for my free monthly shit, I meant we need MORE government.

    /the sheeple

  6. Looks like the charge was dropped, but apparently the kid was left alone in the car for 3 hours. Surprised she wasn’t charged with child abandonment/endangerment and noone smashed a window.…..renew-dog/

    1. When normies leave a kid in the car for two minutes, they get arrested. When the government does it for 3 hours, no problem.

      Equal before the law.

  7. The law is the law. Follow it or pay the price!

    I’m getting really sick of people always saying this…

    1. You WILL Respect My AUTHORITAH!

      1. Yep. Unfortunately, there are too many regular people who enable that attitude. It’s especially frustrating during jury duty (something I’ve had to do far too many times) where they are more than eager to punish a stranger for committing an arbitrary, victimless crime. Would they be so quick to ruin the life of a friend or family member under the same circumstances? Not likely.

      2. I actually had a building department official say that to me ” I am the Authoritah” and yes he was a big fat bloated asshole. BTW this is in northern California so its not limited to the south like some like to think.

        1. That’s why it’s a mistake to give any one person too much power. Most people are good, but having excessive power and authority over others seems to corrupt nearly everyone–myself included.

          1. I don’t know, I prefer David Brin’s take that power attracts the corruptible.

            1. I agree that it does, but it takes a very special person to resist the urge to abuse whatever power they’ve been given. I’ve never craved power or had a desire to tell people what to do, but the few times I’ve been placed in an authority position I’ve behaved in ways I never would have imagined. I think the results of the Stanford Prison Experiment back up my belief that anyone can be corrupted when given power over others.


                Guards will be guards. Whether they intend to or not.


                We are all capable of things we cannot imagine. Given the right circumstances.

                If anything, both of these cry for severe limits on government.

    2. More like – shut up and pay

  8. As I posted yesterday, she’s lucky they didn’t add charges for taking the label off the couch cushions.
    (I get to recycle stuff, too!)

    1. Post sale, end user is allowed to do that. Charges wouldn’t stick.

      1. Listen, yeah, the letter of the law may say that, but I’m sure Chief Justice Roberts will be perfectly willing to intuit the true intent of the law such that “end user is allowed to do that” really means “end user is not allowed to do that.” It’s all in the penumbras.

  9. Social Contract FTW

  10. Now if they kill her that old libertarian line will be completely fulfilled.

  11. I don’t have any verse in scripture to support this, but I believe, Jesus would approve of taco trucks, Mexicans, Pot and government sanctioned ass sex.…..e-any.html

    1. There are people that actually like Jimmy Carter that think he’s lost his mind/ has Alzheimers, and really needs to stop talking in public.

    2. Isn’t this the same Jesus whose dad proclaimed that a man lying with another man like a woman is an abomination and both should be put to death? No mention of lesbianism in the Bible so I assume God and Jesus are OK with those.

      1. I am pretty sure it is all non-approved.

        1. No, lipstick lesbians are hot. God loves them, and they’re all really just bi anyway (Anne Heche, I’m looking at you). The ugly dykes are the price we have to pay for that.

      2. Is the island of Lesbos up for sale yet?

      3. Romans (KJV):

        24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

        25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

        26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

        27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

        1. That’s just describing a pretty wild party. I see no condemnations or warnings of eternal damnation, unlike the anti-gay stuff in Leviticus.

          1. “That recompense of my error” is definitely how i describe a hangover.

        2. Written by men for men.

          What should we expect?

          After a thousand years of slavery at the hands of other cultures, the only way to unchain one’s own is to raise up a larger army than they have. To build a larger army, one needs to procreate.

          Homosexuality, masterbation and other such acts don’t result in too many births. Hence, the leaders make such things “unGodly” and try to get everyone to go along with the plan.
          It was the original, social engineering project.

          1. It’s also about control. Breaking a man-made law is no big deal if you don’t get caught. But if an activity is deemed to be a sin then God will see it and punish you in the afterlife. Thousands of years later silly, superstitious people continue to believe that nonsense.

  12. So how did they determine that she had an unlicensed dog? Do they assume all dog licenses must be renewed until the owner reports the animal as deceased? And if so, do they charge a “dead dog” fee for the disposal of the animal?

    Methinks this is a perpetual money-machine that generates revenue from unsuspecting people even after their pets die. Since, you know, dogs don’t live forever and the state is prone to pass bullshit regs that cost people money because the fine print isn’t readily available.

    1. So how did they determine that she had an unlicensed dog?

      They didn’t. They determined that she was late when she turned in the paperwork. They arrested her not for having an unlicensed dog, but for being late.

      Do they assume all dog licenses must be renewed until the owner reports the animal as deceased?

      Yes. My town sends us a letter each year reminding us to either license our dog or let them know we don’t have it anymore.

      And if so, do they charge a “dead dog” fee for the disposal of the animal?

      Not that I know of, at least in the town I live in.

      1. “Arthur reached out for the bedside light, not expecting it to come on. To his surprise it did. This appealed to Arthur’s sense of logic. Since the Electricity Board cut him off without fail every time he paid his bill, it seemed only reasonable that they should leave him connected when he didn’t. Sending them money obviously only drew attention to yourself.”

        Douglas Adams

  13. Never get a dog license, people!!

    1. Never get a dog, license people!!

      Commas are important.

      1. Sonofabitch (not you, my typing skills).

      2. Never! Get a dog! License people!

    2. Unless you plan to take the dog for a walk anyplace where there may be police present. Because if they don’t see a collar with a license dangling from it, they’re going to cheerfully ruin your day.

      1. I have all kinds of vaccine tags hanging form my dog’s collar. We go out in public daily. Never saw the need to get a license.

      2. Really? Where do you live? I have never had a problem with unlicensed dogs. But maybe the cops in my city just have better things to do than annoy a guy taking his wife’s French bulldog around the block…

      3. I live out in a very rural area. I don’t think one in a hundred people actually remembers or bothers to license their dogs out here. I do it whenever I think of it, but they never send reminders and I frequently forget.

        Really, with my livestock, the dog running loose is the least of my (or the sheriff’s) worries. I had a fence go down once and had a herd of horses running up and down the highway. Nobody asked me for my horse license.

    3. And never call someone who is close to your age old or your father.

      1. never treat someone close to your own age as a child.

        1. I am pretty sure I didn’t do that. I can’t believe you called me your father. And totally out of the blue.

    4. Related Tangent:

      Actually, for the first fifteen years I lived in my house, I did not subscribe to garbage service. I was an original recycler, long before we had curbside recycling. I composted and self-hauled the other small amounts of waste we generated.

      It turned out, this was “illegal” in my town.

      Now, I was afraid to subscribe because they’d find out I hadn’t before and fine me. So, I started sharing with a neighbor who also generated only very small amounts of trash. He wouldn’t let me pay half. So, I used to do handyman projects for him in return.

      It turned out, that was also “illegal” in my town. At least the way the city employees wanted to interpret the ordinance.

      He moved away. So, I finally subscribed and waited for the shit to hit the fan. To my surprise, it never did. Until I moved into my new house but retained the old one.

      I cancelled the service to the old house. The city came after me, insisting I had to subscribe through their chosen waste haul contractor or they’d fine me and subscribe for me, leining my house if I failed to pay. They determined my “status” by getting a list of “non-subscribing addresses” from the waste hauler and comparing that to the city’s water billing addresses.

      1. In the meantime, someone dropped an inoperable, unlicensed car on the street in front of my old house and I complained to the PD and was told to talk to the “abandoned auto unit”. They said they didn’t have the staff to go after the car and they “might” get around to tagging it for illegal parking in excess of 72 hours. Never mind that an unregistered auto cannot be on the public street at all in this state.
        With the City’s final warning, I called them and got into an argument about having to pay for garbage service I had no need of since the house was unoccupied. I so wanted to fight them: The intent of the ordinance was never to force people to “subscribe” to trash service. It was to prevent them from not doing so while accumulating large volumes of health threatening trash on their property, which happens to be a common problem with renters when their landlords don’t pay attention.
        The City admitted having had someone drive by and seeing that there were two cars parked in the side yard – I haven’t moved them to the new house yet – they assumed occupancy. They denied having ever received my letter telling them that no one was living there and that I didn’t need to have trash service and that I did not want to publicize that the house was unoccupied – I went to great lengths to make it look like it was and stopped by almost daily – so go away!

        1. They never did tow the car. The owner caught me one day when I was there, apologized and said he’d have it gone in a day or two.
          Gee, they can’t have the officer on patrol call for a tow truck to remove an unregistered, illegally parked vehicle from the street but they can send “spies” by my old house to see if anyone is living there.

          My “connection” at City Hall finally agreed that I didn’t have to subscribe for garbage service. But, I’ve had several run ins with the City over the years and they do freely trespass on one’s property to “check” on things. It makes you paranoid after a while. You feel like your being targeted for not going along with the program.

          I’m waiting for them to hit me up with a fine for having an “unoccupied” home in the City. There is an ordinance for that too. If no one lives there for six months or more, you have to notify the City, board up the house and bunch of other rigamaroe.

          So you see, the unibomber may have been sick. But his method of staying off the radar of the regulators has merit. They can’t track you and check on you then. Because, no matter what you do, they will find something “wrong” with it and come after you.

          This is why I’m often ranting here about the focus on the federal government and lesser concern with local agencies. The locals are more dangerous and have a more direct effect on each of us.

          1. But, I’ve had several run ins with the City over the years and they do freely trespass on one’s property to “check” on things.

            Depending on where you live, you could totally legally shoot them for trespassing…
            (I’m somewhat inclined to believe that the world would be a better place if we did shoot officials who behave in an illegal manner. — *cough*NSA/BATFE/IRS*cough*)

  14. This problem can be put to rest for a very modest investment in tar, feathers, and civic involvement by the good people of Michigan.


    1. Both of us are busy.

  15. I dunno, seems pretty clear that she thinks she’s better than the laws of this country. Life in prison, I say, and she should feel lucky that capital punishment is off the table.

  16. Hey gang, here is a random question: where do you stand on the abortion subject, and why?

    1. Stay crusty my friend

    2. I stand in direct opposition of you. For religious reasons, and because I hate you.


        1. But we should be OK with that, as libertarians.

    3. where do you stand on the abortion subject,

      Pretty far away, most of the time.

    4. where do you stand on the abortion subject, and why?

      I don’t think you stand on the patient at all but I’m not an ob-gyn.

      1. *high five*

        1. +1

    5. Would, but only if you pay for it. (What were we talking about again?)

  17. The behavior of the government officials in this case is a BRAZEN bunch of BULLshit.

    1. Ha ha, I’m just joshing, losing their jobs would be sufficient.

  18. McGruff is the rocking the khakis/sneakers look? What a dork.

    1. He’s a CRIME DOG! That’s all crime, including crimes against fashion.

  19. If she let her dog license expire, then how do we know she is even still qualified to HAVE a dog??


    1. Surrender the dog, we’ll kill it.


  20. Does anyone really wonder why attitudes toward government are in the shitterchipper?

    At least Nick puts up alt-text.

  21. Gais! Gais! You’re mad about the wrong taxes!

    1. Well seeing how a subsidy now includes everything from a direct cash infusion to a tax break on expenditures according to progs everywhere, I’m pretty sure I’m mad at the right people which is of course everyone.

    2. Yeah, I’m sure we’re pissed off at the right people.

      1. That would be the ones holding a gun to our heads to take the money.

      2. how can you be so sure about these “right” people?

        1. As I said, the right people are the ones with the monopoly on force.

    3. “You see, the corporations take their profits and invest it in the war machine while keeping everyone blind.”

  22. I think I saw the offender in BMBBW magazine last month.

      1. Look up your own pr0n! I’ve moved on!

        1. Finished already, hey?

  23. My wife was once ticketed for an off-leash dog, that was walking right next to her in the park. She forgets to pay the ticket, and a year passes. She’s on her way to get coffee before heading to her executive job, and accidentally goes the wrong way on a one-way street. A cop is there, pulls her over, and runs her license. Bench warrant for failure to appear, off-leash dog. The cop calls for back-up, and she gets zip-tied and sent to the local jail. Nine hours and $150 bail later, and she’s out.

    I went with her to (no shit) pet court a couple of weeks later, and the upshot was the original $25 fine. To add insult, the dog had already died by the time all of this shit transpired.

  24. Well, I guess that’s one way to enter into the circle of petty fee hell..

  25. Same thing happened to my Mom in Columbia Missouri about 40 years ago. We hadn’t been in the town for more than a few weeks when a sheriff came out and arrested my mom in front of her three small children(oldest 8) because our family dog was outside without a Mo tag – (dog still had its North Carolina tag though) Kids had to go to next door neighbor until my Dad could leave work to bail Mom out of jail.
    Judge eventually dropped all charges but that didn’t make up for the insult to my family or pay for the bondsman.

    And they wonder why i am a libertarian.

    I guess that the cops still haven’t learned 40 years later………….

  26. It’s amazing how many episodes of Barney Miller have turned into standard police operating procedure. And I don’t mean the practices of the 12th precinct, I mean the practices requested by the nutcases that the police laughed at then.

    Nutcase One: I want all these people arrested!
    Capt. Miller: We can’t do that. They haven’t done anything illegal.

    NYC Mayor: I want all these people arrested!
    Police Capt: Sweeeet! Lots and lots of overtime! Why should people not get arrested just because they haven’t done anything illegal? It’s only a matter of time before you pass an ordinance that makes whatever they’re doing illegal anyway.

  27. You might not believe this, but there was a story I read last month about some stupid U.S. Attorney trying to build a federal case out of somebody writing a comment online about how there’s a special hot place in hell for shitty judges.

    No really!

    1. It’s U.S. attorneys like that … wait, no, this is a trap, right?

  28. I hope there’s a special place in hell for.. oh never mind.

    1. Chicken!

  29. This happened in my neighborhood several years ago. An elderly woman was sent a summons to court for failing to renew her dog license, but, probably because of the mild dementia common in people her age, she failed to comprehend what it was. When she missed her court date, a deputy was dispatched to bring her in. He saw her walking the dog near her house; arrested and cuffed her; took the dog to the pound; and took her to jail. She was bailed out the next day by family, but not before getting strip searched and finger-fucked at the jail.

    The only good thing that came of this is that the sheriff ended up sending a written apology to our mayor, and promised that the would stop getting arrest warrants for expired dog licenses.

  30. Creeping totalitarianism

    1. Creeping? Hardly! It’s ubiquitous now. And, overwhelming. It may be too late if you ask me.

      I base that on the public support and acceptance and rejection of personal freedoms. There was plenty of evidence with links to outside sources presented n this exchange of ideas.

      I wonder if my email address has been turned over to the authorities yet?

      1. See, I don’t have to wonder. Ain’t that great?

  31. I hope they give this woman the chair

  32. She’s a dangerous criminal (perhaps even a terrorist) and she needs to be sent to GITMO.

  33. For cereal, it’s just gotten too damn ugly. What am I supposed to say?
    Today’s song, enjoy.

  34. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  35. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  36. The idea here is not the fine. She would be forced to pay court costs. Charges like this are routinely continued for several court sessions, increasing the costs. The police may decide to get a no knock warrant during which they will destroy her home by baterring ramming her front door off the hinges, burning the front room furniture and carpets wth flash bang grenades, and then shoot the dog.

  37. Support the Institute for Justice.

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