I got my first job offer around age nine. It was for the illustrious position of “cat-sitter” and lasted for a handful of days while my neighbors were on vacation.
The venture was successful, and for the next several years I poked my head through their hydrangea bushes and slipped in the back door countless times to stroke the cats and refill their food dish.
Luckily for me, I didn’t grow up in New York, for if I had, such an innocent job would be considered a crime. According to The New York Daily News, pet-sitting without a license is currently illegal, and has been for quite some time. This rule has recently resurfaced because of the growing prevalence of apps like Rover, which allow pet-owners to find private individuals to watch their pets:
“No full-scale crackdown followed, but at least two apartment residents were slapped with violations in November and December for caring for pets without a permit. Fines start at $1,000.
‘If you’ve got a 14-year-old getting paid to feed your cats, that’s against the law right now,’ said Rover’s general counsel John Lapham. …
The company has 95,000 pet owners registered in the city, and 9,000 sitters, who brought in $4.1 million over the last year.
Pooch owners often find it cheaper and easier than sending their dog to a kennel, while others prefer to have their pet in someone’s home rather than kept in a cage for much of the day, Lapham said.”
One would think that since many pet owners consider their dogs and cats their babies, they can be trusted to only place their pets in a safe situation, a fact which pet owner Cheryl Smart confirms:
“‘It’s up to the owner to go and make sure that it’s safe,’ she said. ‘The moment you hand the leash over to someone else, that’s a responsibility, that’s your choice as a pet owner.’”
Unfortunately, this is only one of many crazy laws which the U.S. has on its books, suggesting that the American government believes its citizens are lacking in common sense and are incapable of governing themselves in a decent fashion.
Such a scenario was not always par for the course. In the early 1800s, Thomas Jefferson noted that law-making was almost non-existent, and that fact, he explained, was a good thing:
“The path we have to pursue is so quiet that we have nothing scarcely to propose to our Legislature. A noiseless course, not meddling with the affairs of others, unattractive of notice, is a mark that society is going on in happiness. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.”
To say that unhappiness exists in America today would be an understatement. Would we see a reversal of this and an increase in happy, helpful, and responsible citizens if government backed off and let the average citizen make more choices on his own?
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.