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Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

You readers have been presented with a series of challenging quizzes on topics such as Sharia law, healthcareincest, and vigilante justice.

Let’s now shift to the world of taxation.

We all know governments routinely make life hard for taxpayers. The IRS, for example, is a rather brutal bureaucracy, as explained in this video. But I’m not sure the IRS can match either of these two examples of reprehensible taxation. And I’m not sure which one is worse.

Our first story comes from Switzerland, which normally gets high marks for modest taxation and respecting individual rights. But the municipality of Reconvilier is going to extraordinary lengths to pick the pockets of local dog owners. Her’s an excerpt from an AP report.

Reconvilier — population 2,245 humans, 280 dogs — plans to put Fido on notice if its owner doesn’t pay the annual $50 tax. Local official Pierre-Alain Nemitz says the move is part of an effort to reclaim hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes. He says a law from 1904 allows the village to kill dogs if its owner does not pay the canine charge. Nemitz told the AP on Monday that authorities have received death threats since news of the plan got out.

But if you think threatening to kill Rover and Fido is brutal, brace yourself for the next story. The government in King County, Washington, is taxing a family for an infant that passed away shortly after birth. Here’s part of the report from a local TV station.

Olivia Clark lived for only one hour. Doctors didn’t even expect her to survive birth.  Now her family has a hard time understanding why the King County Medical Examiner has to review her death and charge $50. …Although her parents were from Yakima, they came to the University of Washington Medical Center for her delivery. As a result, Olivia died in King county. Her family soon learned the impact that would have when they received the funeral bill. “There was a little line on there near the bottom of the bill that said ‘King county death tax: $50.’ And we looked at that, and looked at that and looked at each other and said ‘what is that?’ Couldn’t believe that a little girl that lived for an hour has to pay a $50 tax,” said Larry. …The medical examiner instituted the $50 fee for cremations three years ago. This year, it included the fee for burials as well.

To be fair, the government didn’t impose a tax on the family because their child died. It’s a fee imposed on all funerals in the county. But it still is a bit macabre for the government to impose such a levy.

And we shouldn’t forget that the IRS has a 35 percent death tax for people who make the mistake of saving and investing too much money before they die, so grave-robbing by governments is not an unknown phenomenon.

So which example is worse? Normally, taxing a dead baby would trump everything, but the tax – while horrible – doesn’t actually target infants. The bureaucrats in Reconvilier, by contrast, are dusting off a 1904 law and threatening to kill people’s pets.

How do you vote?

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This is something that could only happen in San Francisco. The city’s bureaucrats are considering a proposal to ban selling pets. Oops, I just committed a thought crime. They are called “companion animals,” not pets. Anyhow, the plan to ban them would have to be approved by the Board of Supervisors. Whether this happens will be a test of just how crazy the city is.
Sell a guinea pig, go to jail. That’s the law under consideration by San Francisco’s Commission of Animal Control and Welfare. If the commission approves the ordinance at its meeting tonight, San Francisco could soon have what is believed to be the country’s first ban on the sale of all pets except fish. That includes dogs, cats, hamsters, mice, rats, chinchillas, guinea pigs, birds, snakes, lizards and nearly every other critter, or, as the commission calls them, companion animals. …San Francisco residents who want a pet would have to go to another city, adopt one from a shelter or rescue group, or find one through the classifieds. The Board of Supervisors would have final say on the matter. But not before pet store owners unleash a cacophony of howling, squeaking and squawking.

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We Interrupt this Blog to Announce…

…the birth of six kittens. The mother caused some anxiety by choosing to have them outside, which required me to follow her deep into a thicket of forsythia, slithering on my stomach, to retrieve them. But mother and children are doing well. Reserve your new pet today!

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Not a Good Year for Pets

Not a great day. The last of the family pets had to be put down today because of lung cancer. This is only one month after our cat was run over, and just a few months after the oldest dog passed away in his sleep. This is a policy blog, but I hope you won’t mind this short remembrance of Biggles, Phronsie, and Mondale.

Biggles, Phronsie, and Mondale

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