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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EDITORIAL: Cats, Dogs Should Pay Their Way

It is all very well to insist that cats and dogs pay rent and utilities. But the Moscow City Duma's new bill on animals ignores the fact that to do so, these animals will need some source of income.

One solution would be an amendment giving cats and dogs full rights to seek and hold jobs in Moscow. This would have to be contingent on having a municipal registration permit - otherwise Moscow would be flooded with out-of-town dogs and cats.

A more thorny problem, however, is that we frankly see few jobs where a cat or a dog can perform as well as a human. There is, of course, the Duma. But as Duma deputies are elected, opening these posts up to cats and dogs - while certainly progressive - would be no small step.

It is hard to imagine a cat or dog winning in a single-mandate race - much less a slate of cats and dogs, or all cats or all dogs, winning 5 percent of the national vote - unless millions of pets across Russia are also granted suffrage.

A small faction of dogs in the Duma - provided they were only the best dogs, and adhered to strict party discipline - could have long-reaching implications for the nation's economic and political development.

But a dog faction might very well overturn the very bill on animals the Moscow Duma is now considering. It is hard to imagine a parliament with a healthy representation of dogs allowing a city law to stand that stipulates dogs obtain written permission before, ah, making puppies.

Given these difficulties, another option might be for the state to support the income needs of pets.

If cats and dogs are to pay utilities, should they not be eligible for pensions? And if society is so structured as to discriminate against the cat and to deny her work, should the cat not at least receive unemployment compensation? In the interests of leveling the playing field, should not cats and dogs be granted expanded educational and vocational training opportunities?

As we pondered Anna Badkhen's article about these issues Thursday, we took a long, historical view.

Once a few cats and dogs have made their fortunes, they will themselves become interested in a civilized society's protections. This is a natural process - one that will unfold with or without the Moscow Duma.

What legislators there fail to understand is this: When the new big dogs in town want better vets and obedience schools, then and only then will the rule of law replace the rule of the streets.

- Matt Bivens