Cat Owner Fined Thousands of Dollars for Ridiculous Reason

cat litterI’m not here to complain about big government gone out of control. But I am, in some cases, bothered by the fact that cities step up their ticketing quotas in the wake of budget shortfalls. Particularly in this recent instance from Washington, DC … well, yeah, it does seem like someone’s gone a little overboard in the ticketing department.

You are not going to believe the reason why the sanitation department gave a cat-owning resident of the District of Columbia a ticket ...

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Here's the back story: A woman in Washington, DC decided to make her own cat litter out of ripped up newspaper because clumping cat litter contains harmful chemicals. It works for her -- and many others -- quite well. (Here’s a how-to, which just might revolutionize your cat care not to mention your grocery bill.)

But it did not work for the sanitation department. They dug through her trash, found newspaper in the regular trash, and wrote her a ticket. Several tickets. Thousands of dollars worth of tickets. And then they denied her appeal.

*Cue sound of infuriated steam coming from my ears.*

In theory, these tickets are actually a good idea: They do a great job of forcing people to recycle when they’re too stinkin’ lazy to be bothered separating paper from plastic. But they're shouldn't be used to forced people to recycle cat poop.

I called Robert Reed to explain why. He's the press representative for Recology Sunset Scavenger, the waste-disposal company here in San Francisco (where we also have compost pickup, which is just so cool, and I am going to take a smug moment: Ah.). Reed told me the following bit of useful information about why you absolutely cannot recycle cat poop -- at least not right now:

Cat waste has ammonia, and pregnant women can’t go near it because of toxemia. Paper recyclers are getting more and more sophisticated, but they’re still set up to handle papers and magazines and the inks on them -- not cat waste.

Bottom line: You can’t recycle cat poop, which means this woman shouldn't have been fined. (But you can use recycled paper to make cat poop. Or you can buy versions made from pine or corn. And that’s the straight poop.)

Are you annoyed that this woman would be fined for not recycling her poo? 


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