The Institute for Justice appeared in United States District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, last Friday arguing over a mural depicting cartoon dogs. Arlington County, Virginia, has gone after Kim Houghton, the owner of “Wag More Dogs” – a boarding and grooming business – because the owner has this mural on the back wall of her business.
It seems the bureaucrats in Arlington believe it is an illegal “sign” because the whimsical cartoon has a “relationship to her business.” If she replaced dogs with cats, or even with unicorns and dragons, it would be ok. If she sold her business to a gun store or even a tarot card reader, the dog mural would be ok. But to Arlington, the content of the mural is illegal. The owner covered the mural with a blue tarp and the Institute for Justice took Arlington to court on First Amendment grounds. As the IJ presser says, “A victory will strike a blow for government-harassed entrepreneurs nationwide.” Perhaps. A blow that could be struck in Arlington is to unelect the bureaucrats who are ultimately responsible for such nonsense.