Ellen Taft, Capitol Hill's resident pet Gestapo, has some new demands for the city in the wake of today's news that pet license fees will be raised to partly close the $67 million hole in the city budget. She says that instead of raising pet license fees, pet owners should have to spend a 40-hour workweek cleaning up dog shit if they're caught with unlicensed pets.
"The increase in pet license fees is just a smoke screen. It punishes the people who are actually buying their licenses, and not the 80 percent of owners who don't. It's the owners who don't license their dogs that cause the problems. They need to face serious consequences if they don't."
Serious, like cleaning poop "Monday through Friday from 9 to 5."
Taft has a long history as a crusader against all manner of pets and pet behavior that she finds objectionable. From banning pit bulls, to clamping down on questionable service animals, to getting rid of pygmy goats and potbellied pigs, she's made pets who don't exist under the strict letter of the law her No. 1 target for the last two decades.
She fired off a letter to Mayor Mike McGinn and the rest of the city council today demanding that they go after unlicensed pets with the same vigor they go after unpaid parking tickets, writing:
Unfortunately for the city budget, the consequences for non-compliance with the pet licensing requirement are not very serious. In addition to an increased fine, pet owners who do not license their pets, should be forced to do community service, scooping up dog feces in city parks, and off-leash areas, and other unpleasant chores at the animal shelter."
She also suggests "shaming" dog owners who don't pick up their pet's poop by publishing their names in the newspaper.
"I am a socialist. I don't believe in Sarah Palin or the Tea Party, but the way the city is handling this makes me just think 'bad government,'" she says. "It's a matter of enforcement and of personal responsibility. It's hypocritical to say you're a dog lover and pretend you're a reincarnation of Gandhi when you don't license your pets."
As for the shit-cleaning, she says "cleaning carnivore poop with all its parasites" is the foulest activity she can imagine, and would provide just the means of forcing stubborn pet owners into towing the legal line.
Mayor McGinn's office didn't immediately respond to calls for a comment on the letter, or on any "creative" methods he supports in making more pet owners buy licenses.
Meanwhile, we're guessing Seattle has a few pet owners who think that unlicensed animals are the least of the city's many worries. Or not.
You tell us.