Call #1: Canine Waste Tax Addendum

Phone rings. Responder answers in superhero voice: "Hello, Maryland Taxman here! How can I help you?"

Befuddled caller replies, "Yes, hello Taxman? I just got my property tax bill and
there’s something here that I don’t recognize…A canine waste tax? Could you please explain this charge to

"Certainly, good citizen! But first, I need to ask you a few questions. Is your home address 22812 Spring Green
Lane, Baltimore County?"


"Can you please verify the full name on the bill?"

"Randall Popper".

"Thank you. And
Mr. Popper, could you please tell me the approximate height and weight of the
canine under your care?"

"The dog?"


"Well, he’s a puppy, about twenty inches high…We got him
at the breeder last week. My kid
wanted a dog for his birthday–Say, how did you know we got a dog?"

"The DAFD, Mr. Popper"

"What’s the DAFD?"

"The Domestic Animal Fecal Drone".

"What does that do?"

"It estimates approximate pet fecal discharge…"

"What’s the purpose of that, if you don’t mind?" Mr. Popper
asked, agitated.

"To assess the damage your dog’s bathroom breaks have on the
Chesapeake Bay."

"I don’t dump it in the bay!"

"But it causes ecological damage nonetheless…"

"How exactly?"

"It says on your record that you have a seasonal stream on
your lot. Is that correct?"

"Yes, but only in the winter after a big snow or when it
rains a lot."

"Well, Mr. Popper, all of the water from the seasonal stream
has to go somewhere. Our good ecologists
at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation survey the water each month for foreign fecal

"You mean shit from China?"

"Uh, no. Foreign
fecal matter from creatures that do not typically reside in the bay. Fish, for instance, have fecal
discharge that is part of the ecosystem.
It’s needed and necessary.
But your pet’s waste causes an influx in the microorganisms that…"

Randall interrupted Taxman, "I live an hour from the
shore. What my dog does in my yard
doesn’t concerns you or the rectologists at your foundation. This is ridiculous!"

"Actually, Mr. Popper, every pet owner in the state is responsible
for killing the bay. One-half of
one-tenth of one percent of pet fecal matter ends up in an estuary….It’s an
ecological disaster just waiting to happen!

"Fine. Let’s
just assume you’re not full of shit for a second. What’s this got to do with the rain tax? When did that pass?"

"It’s not a new tax, Mr. Popper. It went into effect last July. It’s purpose is to combat pollutants that are carried to the
bay via storm water runoff…It just made sense for our lawmakers to tack on the
Canine Waste Tax Addendum to the rain tax since rain carries fecal matter to
your stream that then carries it to the bay…"

"Well nobody asked me about it!"

"The governor approved it, so there was no need to vote."

"So I’m charged a tax on the size of my roof for rain run
off and now I’m taxed on the size of my dog’s shit for the same damn reason?"

"Yes, Sir, Mr. Popper!
You’ve got it!" Taxman exclaimed supportively.

"So, since I got a dog, I have to pay another tax?"


"Well, what if I take the dog back and get a cat?"

"That would be the feline waste tax addendum…"

"Is that cheaper?"

"Possibly. But
it’s a little more involved. The
DAFD can’t see inside of pet owner’s homes yet, so cat owners are required to
bring used kitty litter to a weighing station bi-weekly. Or, have it picked up on recycling day
and pay per ounce plus a 20% administrative fee for the waste management
service personnel to weigh the used kitty litter and a recording fee of five
dollars to record the actual weight in the Maryland State Kitty Litter Log."

"Does the height and weight of a cat matter?"

"No, Mr. Popper, the state charges a flat fee of
forty-dollars per year for domestic pets under twelve pounds. That is, unless the size of the cat or kitty
litter usage is considered excessive, in which case, a surcharge of five
dollars per month is added."

"Who determines that?"

"The waste management personnel who do the weighing."

"So my trash man decides if my cat is fat or shits too
much? Is it the same for dogs?"

"Well, Mr. Popper, you have a French Mastiff. They are considered an overexcretionary
canine breed. Which means that
more waste ends up in the bay. Let
me see… the DAFD estimates your puppy weighs nineteen and three-quarter
pounds. Does that sound correct?"

"Well, yeah, our scale says twenty-one, but it’s off…Like my
wife says, it adds a few…she’s been wanting to get a new one, but I keep
tellin’ her that if it still mostly works…"

"Mr. Popper. At
the current rate of growth, we estimate that your dog will be one hundred-five
pounds by this time next year. At
that time, you will be required to pay an additional twenty-four dollars per
quarter. If your dog exceeds one
hundred and five pounds then you will be charged an additional fee of ten
dollars per quarter. Don’t worry,
it will be added to your property tax bill. You won’t even notice…"

"Eight dollars a month plus twenty-four dollars a quarter
and more if my dog grows too fast?
I most certainly will notice!
That’s more than a hundred bucks a year! And for what? Dog
shit? This tax is bull shit!"

"Well, no Mr. Popper, bull shit is considered agricultural
and therefore has different parameters for taxing. Do you plan to get a bull, Mr. Popper? Because it says here that you have 3.47
acres, which technically is enough to graze one bull if you supplement…"

"No! I don’t
want a bull! I just want to know
how I didn’t know about this tax until today? When did this asinine bill pass, anyhow?"

"Now now, Mr. Popper, let’s not get excited. This bill is part of the Save the Bay
campaign. You voted in favor of

"How do you know that?
I thought voting records were supposed to be private! And I never voted yes to the Save the
Bay campaign!"

"But you supported the flush tax, Mr. Popper…Which was in
the same piece of legislation…"

"Well hell, I don’t care what you charge for flushing the
toilet. That bill doesn’t effect
me because I have a well and my own water."

"Well, it seems that in voting for the flush tax, you also
supported the Canine Waste Addendum.
How one votes effects everyone, Mr. Popper. Oh, and as of yesterday, your bill is late.
Please don’t forget to add the late fee when you pay! And, as always, thank you for calling,
good citizen!"

***Maryland does have a rain tax and a flush tax. The scary thing is that our dear governor plans to run for the White House…

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