Friday, March 20, 2015
How Much is the Civil Penalty for that Doggy in the Window?
At the heart of the "conventional ownership" condition in the sidebar is an implied question: "is it okay to own, or to do this activity, regardless of commerce?" In the case of pet breeding, I guess the answer is "no," at least around in the 580 area code (OKC).
Will a fine on backyard breeding kennels reduce the unwanted pet population? Almost certainly. Will the $500 fine fall disproportionately on poor people already struggling to make ends meet, and who are perhaps too poor to afford veterinary services? Also, almost certainly.
There's a curious habit among the people of civilized nations to punish destitute and myopic citizens for the crimes of being poor and shortsighted. Having a fertile pet may not be euvoluntary, but is taxing and fining poor pet owners the best way to keep strays from running amok? Not a rhetorical question. I cannot identify a superior alternative here. My imagination fails me.