If you make some money through dog-sitting, you could be out of luck in New York City, where dog-sitting is illegal unless you're a licensed kennel. Even private homes can't get a license.
According to the New York Daily News, the rule banning dog-sitting is now getting attention after the city's Health Department warned the dog-sitting app, Rover, that the people using the app were breaking the law.
John Lapham, the general counsel for Rover, told the Daily News, "If you've got a 14-year-old getting paid to feed your cats, that’s against the law right now. Most places right now continue to make it easier to watch children than animals, and that doesn't make any sense."
Lapham added that the city is telling "the middle class you can’t own dogs unless you can pop in your Range Rover and drive to Connecticut for a boarding facility."
Health Department spokesman Julien Martinez defended the rule by stating, "To ensure the health and safety of pets and reduce risks to public health, the NYC Health Code requires certain businesses to obtain a Health Department permit and comply with necessary regulations — this includes animal boarding facilities and kennels. We also conduct inspections of these facilities to make sure animals would be secure and safe."
Rover is looking toward fighting the rule. They seem to have an ally in Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), the city council's health committee chair, who called the rule "crazy."
"There are millions of cats and dogs in New York City, and people I think believe they can pet sit or have someone pet sit for them," said Johnson. "To have a law on the books that says that's illegal is antiquated and not practical."
This dog-sitting kerfuffle in New York City is reflective of how occupational licensing is an economic burden:
Indeed, in 2011 University of Minnesota labor economist Dr. Morris Kleiner concluded that occupational licensing has cost consumers $203 billion per year and 2.85 million fewer jobs in America.
What Rover and other dog-sitters are going through in New York City shows the economic hazard of occupational licensing.