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Etc...

Ahh, you're hearing things!

When, several years ago, Gerrit Bruintjes's beloved German shepherd died, he wanted to honor his pet's memory in some way - other than by acquiring a puppy of the same breed. So he chose what he thought would be the next best substitute: a doorbell that when pushed plays barking noises. Little did he realize at the time what a problem that would turn out to be. Consider what happened the other day, for example. Bruintjes lives in the Dutch town of Oldenzall, which sends an inspector door to door each year to find out which homes have dogs. Those that do are taxed $97. Anyway, no one was home the day the inspector arrived at the Bruintjes's door and pushed the button for the bell. You can see where this is going, right? When the door wasn't answered, the fellow slid a tax bill through the mail slot and went on to the next house. A while later, Mrs. B. arrived, found the bill, and chased after the inspector, who by that point was at the end of the street . "Last year, it was a huge effort to convince [him] that we didn't have a dog, and now it has happened again," Mr. B. groused. But it's up to the taxman to adjust, he said, because he doesn't intend to, adding: "I just hope it 'rings a bell' with [the inspector] when he comes next year."