Saturday, April 4, 2015

Pretty Sure My Head's Gonna Explode

Crossing lines that shouldn't be crossed

King County, Washington it seems animal control is running a campaign. The campaign is to find unlicensed pets, share the virtues of licensing pets with the owners, and get the pets licensed. I'm not against this at all. I support licensed pets. So why is this making my head explode? Why is this
crossing a line that shouldn't be crossed? The representatives of the state run animal control are not contacting owners of nuisance animals. They're not coming up to people walking their pets in public places. They're not even tracking down people who habitually walk their dogs off leash or refuse to clean up poop. No, they're going door to door to try to find houses with pets that are unlicensed. They're doing this by examining yards for signs of pets (like toys or poop, I suppose), or knocking on doors to find out if a yappy dog answers. No warrant, no complaint, no probable cause. Just a door to door search. At that point they begin the investigation to determine what pets you have, and whether they are appropriately licensed. This is wrong, and should agitate the shit out of anybody who sees what is going on here. 
Again, let's be clear. My problem isn't that they're trying to find unlicensed animals. There are laws, there are reasons for those laws, and they are what they are. It's that representatives of the government are coming on to private property, uninvited, for no other reason than to inquire whether you are 1) subject to a given law, and 2) should you be subject to said law, in compliance with said law. 
This doesn't make your skin crawl? This doesn't make you wonder if you were to refuse to answer the door and speak to them if there might be stronger consequences? No, there are no threats, no, there are no fines...as long as you, the citizen, complies. 
Just to drive this home, let's change the subject of the search. What if the subject was motor vehicles instead of pets. What if representatives of the DMV or Highway Patrol were going door to door just to check if you happened to have any cars on your property, and if you did have a car, require you to show proof of registration.
As I said, this is not about whether people should license their pets. This is about whether you feel the government has the right to arbitrarily knock on your door and ask you if you are subject to a given law, and then determine if you are in compliance. No complaints, no warrants, no probable cause. This is wrong. This is unacceptable.