Washington, D.C., police threatened a dog owner with a $750,000 fine for posting ‘Missing Dog’ posters across town.
After losing his dog Ollie on March 30, Roger Horowitz was initially encouraged by police to post ‘Lost Dog’ posters on lamp posts, but a police officer recently told him to tear them all down.
— NBC fan (@NbcWashFan) April 11, 2015
“So he told me that regardless if we put up the fliers, or if other people put them up, we had made the original flier that had my phone number, and that we could get fined up to $750,000,” he said to NBC Washington.
The D.C. municipal code does in fact regulate ‘Missing Dog’ posters, despite the First Amendment.
“No person shall affix a sign, advertisement, or poster to any public lamppost or appurtenances of a lamppost, except as provided in accordance with this section,” Chapter 24, Section 108.1 of the D.C. Municipal Regulations reads.
The “exceptions” are strict to say the least: the poster must be registered with the city, each copy must contain the date posted and there can be no more than three posters per each side of the street per block.
So in other words, if you have a missing dog in Washington, D.C., you better beg the government for permission to search for him.
This totalitarianism isn’t unique to D.C., however.
California Polytechnic State University-Pomona was also requiring students to apply for a ‘free speech permit’ if they wanted to hand out flyers on campus.
“Cal Poly Pomona’s campus policies impose a web of restrictions before students can distribute literature on campus: They must check in with the Office of Student Life, allow the school to copy their IDs, and wear badges signed by an administrator,” reported the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, who is helping Tomas sue the school. “Even then, would-be speakers are relegated to the so-called ‘free speech zone.’”
“Badges can only be issued from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, although the Office of Student Life pledges to ‘work with’ any student who wishes to engage in expressive activity on evenings or weekends.”