Monday, April 25th, 2011

Citizen: Big Government is Taxing Our Texas Dogs!

The Malakoff News serves (part of) Henderson County—county seat, Athens, Texas—overall home to almost 90,000 28,000 households. And just like the fictional town of Dillon, Texas, Henderson, if those fatcats in the Texas House have their way, will be redistricted into two districts. Henderson, says the paper, is the only county in the state to be butchered up in such a fashion, and the locals are ticked off. Then the robocalls started, blaming their (Republican) state representative for it all, and asking citizens to call him up. Unfortunately, the freshman is actually not on the redistricting committee. Meanwhile, closer to Malakoff? They are trying to tax everyone's dogs!

A local dog owner writes to the paper:

I recieved my letter from the city stating that I could be fined up to $2,000 dollars if I didn't register my dogs within 10 days. Let's forget for a moment that gov. feels it has a right to make a buck off peoples everyday lives…how do they know I have dogs? Must be from vet records. What of those who don't take their pets to the vet? Does the city know about them? I hope so, otherwise only the responsible folks will get these letters and that makes the ordinance discriminatory. Someone please answer my questions so I can feel secure that this ordinance will be enforced on EVERY pet owner in Malakoff.

10 Comments / Post A Comment

KarenUhOh (#19)

It's a colloquialism, sir. They are requesting that you register your feet.

Malakoff, eh? That sounds very Soviet.

SeanP (#4,058)

@KarenUhOh: Oh boy. A buddy of mine from college was from Malakoff. Believe me, nowhere could be further from being Marxist.

hockeymom (#143)

Maybe the dog uses Google and that's how the government tracked him down.

But you missed the really good letter…which redeems Malakoff! Seriously, this was sweet.

Dear Editor,
It is nice to know that with everyone's busy schedule, there are angels who took time to give my mom, Kathryn Files, a very special evening.
We would like to thank the compassionate people at Cedar Lake Nursing Home Health and Hospice, and Cedar Lake Nursing Home for helping make the very special evening possible. Also the night could not of been a success without the wonderful ballroom dancers. Thank you Dr. Doug Curran and his wife Sandy, Dr. Ken Lemmon and his wife Paula, and Ray and Jeanelle Weatheread.
You all made it possible for Hospice's Dream Catcher program to arrange a ballroom dance special for mom. She is a Fred Astair enthusiast. Everyone made mom feel like Ginger for a night. Jeta and Angela, we are blessed to have such compassionate people watching over mom. Thank you a million times for going above and beyond to make mom content and comfortable.
Kim Padgett

portmanteautally (#1,015)

They obviously tracked down the dog by his iPhone records.

Joey Camire (#6,325)

Or, maybe he reported owning a dog on the census? Or, you know, they may be wire taping his house. Patriot Act also includes acts of domestic terrorism like letting your dog poop on a neighbors lawn.

deepomega (#1,720)

The dog is actually a cunning disguise being worn by a democrat, reporting back every non-tax-payment to the state.

As a conservative, I have a natural aversion to such intrusive taxation. But as a former newspaper editor from Henderson County, I realize there is more to the story that some people may realize.

Selling dogs at the local flea market in Canton is a big underground business in that area. Unfortunately, the dogs that don't get sold are often discarded on the side of the road. The result is that the county has a ridiculously high number of stray dogs running around causing a public health threat.

I suspect the purpose of the new law is not to tax the family pet (most of those dogs are already registered) but to provide a enforcement tool that forces dog sellers to account for their animals.

SeanP (#4,058)

@Joe Carter@facebook: as I liberal, I, uh… kinda do too. I don't mind paying my fair share of taxes. But I do get annoyed at the seemingly endless new variety of ways the state is reaching its hand into my pocket. I understand car licensing fees – everyone with a car needs roads, and those gotta be paid for somehow. Car owners might as well be the ones to pay. But animal licensing? What services, exactly, am I getting? I don't allow my critters to run loose, so they don't impose costs on anyone else. If the idea is to pay for animal control officers, my vote would be stiff fines for people who do let their animals run loose, and any difference made up out of the general fund. With respect to the particulars of the Canton flea market, I'd be a lot more inclined to accept your reasoning as to why the licensing is required… except that nearly every county in the US requires licensing, whether there are pet flea markets or not.

Again, I'm not opposed to taxes. We need government services, and they have to be paid for. It just seems as if it would be a lot more straightforward for people to pay user fees for services they're actually using, and plain old income, sales, or property taxes for the stuff you can't adequately assign user fees for, or can't raise sufficient revenue for via user fees.

ohyaknow (#11,436)

This probably isn't a "dog tax," but dog license fees. The person who wrote in probably didn't renew their dogs' licenses and decided to freak out to the local paper (a popular sport in small towns all across the USA!). Funds collected from license fees go to animal shelters, animal control, and any spay/neuter/training/vaccine clinics the county might offer- all of which are obviously very, very good things. If they are cracking down on enforcing licensing, one might hope they are following in the footsteps of Bill Bruce's excellent model in Calgary, which has been well-publicized as of late, and will help clear up what sounds like an abysmal situation surrounding dogs at flea markets.

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