Letting People The Fuck Alone is
Just Not an Option
(Reason) - In over 10,000 cities in all 50 states, the online platform Rover offers pet owners the ability to connect with walkers and sitters with the ease that characterizes the growing sharing economy. There are over 100,000 people who earn money by working with the platform and Rover is just one of many "pet sharing" sites.
But according to the Colorado government, people who watch pets for money are breaking the law unless if they can get licensed as a commercial kennel—a requirement that is costly and unrealistic for people working out of their homes, often as a side job.
This is not simply a case of an outdated law failing to accommodate modern technology. There are more nefarious motives—those of special interests who want to protect their profits by keeping out new competition. As Americans For Tax Reform's John Kartch argues, it is time to add "Big Kennel" to the list of special interests that support ridiculous occupational licensing schemes.
Lisa Jacobson experienced the wrath of the kennel industry and its defenders in government firsthand. She started working with Rover a little over a year ago when she was in between careers. Even though Jacobson is a single mother of two, she could earn money to pay her mortgage through the work she found with Rover. Because of her five-star rating and unique skills, Jacobson was soon at the top of search results and her client list grew.
Unfortunately, her success attracted the attention of a large commercial kennel in Colorado Springs, which filed a complaint against her. Then an inspector from the Colorado Department of Agriculture came to her home and told Jacobson that she was advertising pet sitting without a kennel license. The inspector said that Jacobson had to get a state license or take down her Rover profile.
When Jacobson found out that the license came with a $400 nonrefundable application fee, she was torn. There was no way her home would be approved, since both carpet and hardwood floors are not allowed at commercial kennels, but she needed the income to support herself and her children. She decided to avoid legal trouble and took down her profile. In a single day, she lost all her income from Rover simply because state regulators refuse to recognize that watching someone's pet at home does not automatically turn a person into a large-scale kennel business.
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