Dogs as dependants? A new bill could make it so.

Posted By elaine on November 2, 2009

    Pets have been feeling the pain of the recession as economy bites down hard.  Many shelters say that they are seeing more and more pets come in where the owners say it was either feed the dog or feed the kids.   The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports the number of family pets that are dumped at shelters or pounds on a daily basis in California alone has spiked by as much as 12 percent in certain areas since the recession “hit” in December, 2007.

     This is causing a problem for shelters.   Fewer people are looking for pets because they can’t afford them, and more people are dropping them off.   Animals that would normally get a couple of weeks to get adopted now only get a couple of days before they are euthanized to make way for new animals coming into the shelters.

    Animal groups are now saying that educating pet owners on responsible pet ownership is not enough, and now they are pressing lawmakers to enact incentives aimed at providing owners reasons to keep their pets during the recession.  Proposals currently being written in California includes implementing state-funded adoption, identification and spay/neutering campaigns until the economy picks up.capitol hill

   Most interesting is a national campaign that would allow for tax deductions for pet owners. House Bill 3501 known as the “Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act” is already on the floor of Congress.  This bill would allow taxpayers to deduct as much as $3,500 of pet-related expenses from their tax returns. It was introduced by Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) back in July.

    The Humane Society of the United States is also backing the bill, “Sometimes it takes the right moment for a bill to get attention.” said HSUS executive vice president and chief operating officer Michael Markarian. “And a tax break for pet care is a policy that could directly benefit two-thirds of American households that have companion animals.”

   Well I have to say that I would easily get my 35-hundred dollar tax credit, but is this really a good idea?  I am sure that it will be a heated discussion on the Hill.  It will be interesting to see what they decide.  For me I say if you can write off children and mortgages, why not a pet?   For more on the bill and it’s author go to www.petexemption.com.

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