SANTA FE, N.M. - It's hard out there for a busker.

When Gregory Pike was told he had to have a license for his strolling act consisting of a rat riding on the back of a cat riding on the back of a dog, he figured it would be no big deal to get the $35 license.

But when he came out of city hall with the itinerant-vendor license, he walked into city animal-control officers. They gave him citations for $500 because Booger, his Rottweiler-Labrador mix, and Kitty, the gray-and-black cat, had no tags proving they had their rabies shots and had been spayed or neutered.

Pike also was not carrying the required bags for storing the animals' fecal output.

Pike contends he is being harassed. But Carla Lopez, a spokeswoman for the city, said buskers who make their living with animals have to have the tags and have to pick up after themselves.

"That makes it so it works for everyone," she said.

Pike said he came to Santa Fe to make a little money.

However, he may not be walking around the Santa Fe Plaza for long with Booger, Kitty and Mousie if he has to come up with $500 in fines, he said.

"I have a court date coming up, and we'll see," he said.