New York City is cracking down on rogue dog-sitters. The city is more strictly enforcing a law that requires pet sitters to have a kennel license if they are boarding or taking care of a pet.
Woof. What a bad idea.
For an issue as important as this, it's important that the loud barks of opposition from dogs such as myself are heard.
The city's crackdown creates a ruff situation for dog-owners, dog-sitters and everyday dogs, who would much rather stay in a comfy home than be caged up in a scary and impersonal kennel when our humans are away. According to the New York Daily News, at least two apartment residents were hit last year with fines of $1,000 for unlicensed dog-sitting. Grrrrrrr.
This law also limits op-paw-tunity for everyday New Yorkers. It hinders paw-pular dog-sitting apps such as Rover.com from operating effectively in the city. Rover allows our humans to choose among rated dog-sitters to take care of us while they're off doing ... whatever it is humans do when they're not feeding us.
Pet owners get a ruff deal, since these apps are more convenient than traditional boarding kennels, which usually require me to be dropped off on-site. Rover provides flexibility to my humans, who can select from a litter of care options. Personally, I prefer staying at my own home or a friend's house when my humans are away, rather than be boarded in a kennel.
Rover is also much cheaper than regular boarding. This is paw-ticularly important for New Yorkers on a budget. Best of all, it means more money for dog treats! The demise of Rover would be bad news for good dogs across the city, threatening their income of delicious dog treats since their humans would have less money.
Furthermore, the app allows for more competition, which means better service. In fact, Rover's founder originally launched the app after his own doggie was treated poorly by an expensive kennel. As a fellow canine, I must stand up for my all pups. We pets trust our humans, rather than a distant government bureaucrat that has never so much as shaken my paw, to know what's best for us.
What strikes me as paw-ticularly odd is that while New York licenses dog-sitting, it doesn't license babysitting! According to the city health department's website, "informal child care" isn't regulated, where that term is defined as care usually provided in a home for up to three children, in addition to the provider's own children.
Apparently informal pet-sitting requires more training than informal baby-sitting. As a very good boy, I do not appreciate the insinuation that caring for me is as difficult as caring for small humans who spit up and don't listen to big humans. I hardly ever spit up in the house anymore.
Fur-thermore, pet-sitting licenses can't be issued for private homes. What sense does it make to allow me to stay in my home or a friend's home for free, but not the home of another who is paid by my humans? Of course, everyone must obey the rules of the apartment or local regulations regarding pets. So long as they're satisfying those requirements, there should be no further issue.
While my colleagues didn't approve of any part of the law, there are paw-sitive aspects. For example, Rover General Counsel John Lapham told the New York Daily News, "If you've got a 14-year-old getting paid to feed your cats, that's against the law right now." I like cats, but have to reason that less food for them will lead to more for dogs like myself. Cat food is delicious.
Despite this intriguing possibility of more cat food, regulations against dog-sitters make life more difficult for dog owners and likely reduce both the number of belly scratches and treats good dogs (such as myself — just saying, humans) will receive.
Murray Rothbark is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is a dog living in St. Petersburg, Fla., and canine policy director at the R Street Institute.
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