Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Woman Arrested for Not Renewing $35 Dog License

 

RerhBeing a busy mom and surgical nurse, Becky Rehr of Kalamazoo County, Mich., kept forgetting to renew the license for her family’s 11-year-old springer/border collie mix. She finally turned in the paperwork on June 18 but a few days later received an arrest warrant from the local government. Not renewing a dog license is a criminal offense in this corner of southwestern Michigan.

While running errands with her 14-year-old daughter, Rehr swung by the sheriff’s office to show Johnny Law her $35 receipt and clear up the trivial matter. She was shocked when they took her mug shot, fingerprints, and tossed her into a holding cell at the county jail.

“They frisked me and put me in this intake cell with all these inmates in orange jumpsuits,” Rehr said. “I was pretty nervous.” It took three hours before CSI: Kalamazoo released her on a $100 bond so she could return to her daughter who had been waiting in the family car.

Her co-workers at Bronson Methodist Hospital “think I’m kidding,” said Rehr, who is a surgical nurse. “They think there’s no way this is how we’re spending our tax dollars.”

Criminal charges for not renewing a dog license are allowed under the Kalamazoo County animal control ordinance.

Steve Lawrence, director of Kalamazoo County Animal Control, said the agency seeks arrest warrants about “four or five times a month” for people who haven’t renewed a dog license. The county has 32,000 licensed dogs.

“We’re not looking to punish people,” Lawrence said. “We’re just looking for people to get their dog license.”

“Government” is just another word for the dog owners we arrest together.

Today, Rehr was hauled before a district court judge for her slow renewal of the dog license, a crime punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $100 fine. Beforehand, she had called several lawyers for advice; some said she should hire an attorney to fight the case while others counseled her to plead guilty and pray the court cleared her record sometime in the future. Her only previous legal violation was a speeding ticket.

After her story was published in the Kalamazoo Gazette — and later picked up nationally by the Associated Press — the County Prosecutor’s Office filed a motion to dismiss the case and the judge agreed. Publicizing the petty excesses of local bureaucrats embarrassed the County enough to do the right thing.

Rehr shared the good news via an email to the local newspaper. “No court and total dismissal!!!!!” she said. “I don’t have to go to court and I get my bond money back. I’m free!!!!”

No word yet if Kalamazoo County will revisit their ridiculous criminal code or fire their power-mad personnel.

There are 98 comments.

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  1. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: “Government” is just another word for the dog owners we arrest together.

    Or maybe it’s just insanity.

    • #1
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:18 PM PDT
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  2. HeartofFLA Inactive

    I am never surprised at the over-zealousness of bureaucrats in prosecuting people who do not need to be prosecuted but let criminals with multiple felonies run free amongst the people.

    It’s easy to prey on people who are told by all (even attorneys) that it would “be much easier for all” if you just plead guilty so you can make it go away faster. It’s never quite that simple, is it?

    • #2
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:30 PM PDT
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  3. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Did you forget to mention the multiple warnings she ignored?

    • #3
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:31 PM PDT
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  4. LunaticRex Inactive

    ‘Oh [expletive redacted], AP picked it up! Drop the whole thing now, before many more people find out we are tyrants.’

    • #4
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:33 PM PDT
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  5. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Steve Lawrence, director of Kalamazoo County Animal Control, said the agency seeks arrest warrants about “four or five times a month” for people who haven’t renewed a dog license. The county has 32,000 licensed dogs. “We’re not looking to punish people,” Lawrence said. “We’re just looking for people to get their dog license.”

    But she did renew the license, she just did it late. Using the threat of arrest to get people to pay their silly license fee is bad enough, but what is the logic behind arresting someone after they do pay for the license?

    • #5
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:34 PM PDT
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  6. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Why is there a fee for a dog in the first place?

    • #6
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:40 PM PDT
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  7. 1967mustangman Inactive

    Basil Fawlty:Did you forget to mention the multiple warnings she ignored?

    Warnings are no excuse for tyranny.

    • #7
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:41 PM PDT
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  8. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Bryan G. Stephens:Why is there a fee for a dog in the first place?

    To distinguish them from cats.

    • #8
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:41 PM PDT
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  9. billy Inactive

    Basil Fawlty:Did you forget to mention the multiple warnings she ignored?

    Yep, throw the book at her as an example to all the other dog-owning thugs out there.

    • #9
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:42 PM PDT
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  10. 1967mustangman Inactive

    Bryan G. Stephens:Why is there a fee for a dog in the first place?

    I actually don’t mind this. It’s a user fee. You are paying for animal services provided by the county.

    • #10
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:42 PM PDT
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  11. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    1967mustangman:

    Basil Fawlty:Did you forget to mention the multiple warnings she ignored?

    Warnings are no excuse for tyranny.

    Ignoring the law is no excuse for illegal immigration.

    • #11
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:43 PM PDT
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  12. Old Bathos Moderator

    Kalamazoo is not exactly crime-free. Shouldn’t officer Barney Fife et al be working on more serious stuff than dog licenses?

    • #12
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:44 PM PDT
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  13. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    billy:

    Basil Fawlty:Did you forget to mention the multiple warnings she ignored?

    Yep, throw the book at her as an example to all the other dog-owning thugs out there.

    Does the term “scofflaw” not resonate?

    • #13
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:48 PM PDT
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  14. 1967mustangman Inactive

    Basil Fawlty:

    1967mustangman:

    Basil Fawlty:Did you forget to mention the multiple warnings she ignored?

    Warnings are no excuse for tyranny.

    Ignoring the law is no excuse for illegal immigration.

    What now? The dog is illegal? Well then throw the book at her!!!

    • #14
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:50 PM PDT
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  15. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Thank God she didn’t get her arrest warrant served at the end of the battering ram of the Kalamazoo Animal Control SWAT team. (I bet they have one). Her newly licensed dog might have ended up dead and she would have been arrested and a gag order placed on her family and friends.

    • #15
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:51 PM PDT
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  16. 1967mustangman Inactive

    Basil Fawlty:

    billy:

    Basil Fawlty:Did you forget to mention the multiple warnings she ignored?

    Yep, throw the book at her as an example to all the other dog-owning thugs out there.

    Does the term “scofflaw” not resonate?

    She’s not a scofflaw she was arrested after she already renewed the license. Late fees sure….collections…..ruin her credit….put a lean on her property, but throw her in jail? That is nuts.

    • #16
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:52 PM PDT
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  17. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Don’t worry. The county will get their scalp. Child services will probably get called because she left her 14 y/o daughter unattended in the car for three hours.

    • #17
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:55 PM PDT
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  18. billy Inactive

    Basil Fawlty:

    1967mustangman:

    Basil Fawlty:Did you forget to mention the multiple warnings she ignored?

    Warnings are no excuse for tyranny.

    Ignoring the law is no excuse for illegal immigration.

    Yes it does.

    It resonates, echoes even, when spoken in the vast canyon of lawlessness that is the Kalamazoo dog-owning community.

    • #18
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:55 PM PDT
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  19. 1967mustangman Inactive

    Metalheaddoc:Don’t worry. The county will get their scalp. Child services will probably get called because she left her 14 y/o daughter unattended in the car for three hours.

    It was June. It might have been hot. Kid in a hot car!

    • #19
    • July 7, 2015, at 4:56 PM PDT
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  20. Jon Gabriel, Ed. King
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.

    Basil Fawlty:Did you forget to mention the multiple warnings she ignored?

    Didn’t forget, it’s in the links. I’ve ignored multiple warnings to renew my beagle’s license and think it would be insane to arrest someone for that. They could have sent her 100 warnings; they still shouldn’t toss her in jail several days after she renewed the license.

    • #20
    • July 7, 2015, at 5:04 PM PDT
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  21. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    1967mustangman:

    Basil Fawlty:

    billy:

    Basil Fawlty:Did you forget to mention the multiple warnings she ignored?

    Yep, throw the book at her as an example to all the other dog-owning thugs out there.

    Does the term “scofflaw” not resonate?

    She’s not a scofflaw she was arrested after she already renewed the license. Late fees sure….collections…..ruin her credit….put a lean on her property, but throw her in jail? That is nuts.

    She was a scofflaw because an arrest warrant had been issued due to her repeated failures to obey the law. I don’t know how many warnings she got or how late her renewal was. Jon doesn’t tell us. This would have been useful information.

    • #21
    • July 7, 2015, at 5:04 PM PDT
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  22. Pony Convertible Member

    1967mustangman:

    Bryan G. Stephens:Why is there a fee for a dog in the first place?

    I actually don’t mind this. It’s a user fee. You are paying for animal services provided by the county.

    The county is not providing any services to me for my animal. It is not a user fee. It is a fee to cover irresponsible owners, but it has no more to do with me than it does someone who doesn’t own a pet.

    • #22
    • July 7, 2015, at 5:06 PM PDT
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  23. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Basil Fawlty:Did you forget to mention the multiple warnings she ignored?

    Didn’t forget, it’s in the links. I’ve ignored multiple warnings to renew my beagle’s license and think it would be insane to arrest someone for that. They could have sent her 100 warnings; they still shouldn’t toss her in jail several days after she renewed the license.

    In the links, but not in the text of your post. Tendentious, says I. I’m not sure that you can void an arrest warrant for, say, driving without a license just by showing up at the police station with a license you finally renewed.

    • #23
    • July 7, 2015, at 5:23 PM PDT
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  24. Hammer, The Member

    I just read a story about a woman in our town who was kidnapped and sexually assaulted (fortunately not murdered). Buried in the story, since they wouldn’t dare say he was an illegal immigrant, was a line about him being a “native Spanish speaker.” Beurocrats are just like everyone else, only worse, and with more power. So much easier to go after dog owners than to address (or even acknowledge) real problems.

    • #24
    • July 7, 2015, at 5:47 PM PDT
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  25. Nick Stuart Inactive

    1967mustangman:

    Basil Fawlty:

    1967mustangman:

    Basil Fawlty:Did you forget to mention the multiple warnings she ignored?

    Warnings are no excuse for tyranny.

    Ignoring the law is no excuse for illegal immigration.

    What now? The dog is illegal? Well then throw the book at her!!!

    The dog is not illegal, it’s undocumented.

    • #25
    • July 7, 2015, at 5:48 PM PDT
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  26. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    She should sue those sons of [female canines] for everything they’ve got.

    • #26
    • July 7, 2015, at 5:52 PM PDT
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  27. Kay of MT Member

    Mike LaRoche:She should sue those sons of [female canines] for everything they’ve got.

    Lord help her if she does, because then she will never have any peace as long as she owns a pet. Animal control will sit on her door step to arrest her if she is one day late renewing her dog’s license. Also to make sure the dog doesn’t piss on the wrong flower or tree.

    • #27
    • July 7, 2015, at 6:05 PM PDT
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  28. Ed G. Member
    Ed G. Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    1967mustangman:

    Basil Fawlty:

    1967mustangman:

    Basil Fawlty:Did you forget to mention the multiple warnings she ignored?

    Warnings are no excuse for tyranny.

    Ignoring the law is no excuse for illegal immigration.

    What now? The dog is illegal? Well then throw the book at her!!!

    How dare you call the dog “her”. He identifies as male.

    • #28
    • July 7, 2015, at 6:14 PM PDT
    • Like
  29. Ed G. Member
    Ed G. Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Seriously, though, is there a good reason for the law to be the way it is? Is there a problem with abandoned animals, dog fighting, or something like that in the county?

    • #29
    • July 7, 2015, at 6:18 PM PDT
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  30. Ed G. Member
    Ed G. Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Also, we can be a schizophrenic bunch. Sometimes Ricochet cries out against the injustice of the police exercising judgement and taking it upon themselves to add judge and jury to their job descriptions. Other times it’s an injustice when judgement is left to the letter of the law.

    • #30
    • July 7, 2015, at 6:21 PM PDT
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