WASHINGTON — New York City’s nutty requirement that dog sitters be licensed has caught the attention of US Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who singled it out Thursday as an example of local regulations gone haywire.
“I noticed New York City now requires dog sitters to be licensed,” Acosta said in an interview.
“And they’ve actually started prosecuting individuals for illegal dog-sitting. I will point out that you don’t need a license to baby-sit, but you do need a license to dog-sit. So you wonder are all these licenses necessary.”
Acosta is trying to get states and cities to eliminate unnecessary regulations that he believes hurt the economy.
City Hall did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The city’s Health Department prohibits private pet-sitters outside a licensed kennel and has cracked down on the popular dog-sitting app Rover, which works much like Uber by connecting pet owners with pet-sitters.
A dog-sitting permit costs $70 for a “small animal boarding establishment permit” and an additional $39 for an animal care and handling course.
Acosta called that part of a troubling national trend.
“There was a time not too long ago when only about 1 in 20 jobs require a license,” he said. “Now more than 1 in 4 jobs in America require a license.”
“Soon it will be [that] to be a journalist you’ll have to have a license,” Acosta quipped. “… Fortune tellers in Maryland need a license.”
Acosta still supports licenses for medical and safety professions, but said other unnecessary licenses create barriers for employment by costing a “few thousand dollars” between certification and fees.
The licenses also hinder job mobility, Acosta said. The problem is particularly acute for military spouses who move regularly but their occupational certification from one state is not recognized in another.
“We must reduce, streamline, and eliminate licenses that unnecessarily bar the entry of Americans into the workforce and which impair mobility,” he said.
“If licenses are unnecessary, states should eliminate them; if licenses are needed, states should streamline them; and states should consider honoring each other’s licenses when it makes sense to do so.”