Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hiding the cats from the dog catcher

I got a nice big stack of mail the other day---my eBay purchase, a detergent sample and coupons, and not one, not two, but four notices that I need to renew my pet licences.

In summer 2008 there was a cash grab revenue-generating and youth employment initiative by the City of Toronto: young persons were hired as enforcement agents for Toronto Animal Services (which I've visited when in the area; a nice place to shop) to snoop around people's homes looking for evidence of domestic animals (cats and dogs). Then they'd knock on the door and make people buy licences ("Annual licensing [sic; US spelling] of dogs and cats is the law in Toronto..."). There are lots of outdoor cats (and indoor ones, if I count those that like to sit and look out their front windows) and a few dogs on the street. Well, I didn't wait for some pimply-faced clipboard-carrying municipal-ID-wearing punk to knock on my door and intimidate me by looking over my shoulder at the dust bunnies made of cat fur lining the stairs. I went online and bought a licence for each indoor cat ($15 per cat if it's sterilized, which mine are). And you're supposed to attach the licence tag to the cat (mine don't wear collars, and I don't believe in superfluous piercings). Licencing cats and dogs has been the (by)law since I've lived here, but I probably could have gotten away with not doing it. And I don't think they even did our street in the end.

I got renewal notices in July and ignored them. After all, I wasn't working and didn't want to spend the money. Now I get them again. I have only a few days to renew in order to obey Municipal code chapter 349, or a Municipal Enforcement Officer will come to my house, count the cats, and fine me $240 per miscreant. I tried to figure out a way to let them know I no longer have four cats staying with me (betrayal, I know; can I build a secret room to hide them when the Guardians of the Peace burst through my door? Can I declare that they are Domesticated Ungulates of the families Artiodactylus and Perissodactylus, Anseriformes, Galliformes and Struthioniformes and are thus exempt from the licencing rules?). But the layers of fur on every surface, scratching posts, shredded furniture, and all-pervading litter box smell will betray me. I'm a good corporate citizen, generally, but this gets my goat, so to speak. (By the way, did anyone get that? Goat sort of = Artiodactylus?)

Now that I'm working the money should not be such a problem. But it is---I found out on payday that my employer pays in arrears, just like EI (after the two week waiting period to receive benefits or pay, there's another two weeks to wait). So I don't get paid until the end of the month.

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