Pets May Not Be So Happy under 'Happy Act'

Mark J. Fitzgibbons
Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter has introduced well-meaning legislation that is certain to tug at the heartstrings of animal lovers.  H.R. 3501, the ‘Happy Act,’ would provide pet owners a tax deduction of up to $3,500 annually for pet care.

The deduction is not available for pet acquisition costs, but is intended for veterinary and other pet care costs.  Yet one of the sponsor’s stated reasons is that, due to the economy, pet shelters are overcrowded.  People losing jobs and even having to abandon homes result in many abandoned pets.  Congressman McCotter believes the deduction would encourage pet adoption by loving owners.  Maybe; maybe not.

I have six rescued dogs, three rescued cats and three rescued ponies, and I oppose this bill.  First of all, the tax code is already too filled with social engineering provisions.  Secondly, I don’t see a ‘Pet Clause’ in Article I of the Constitution. I worry about the federal government having any regulatory power over our relationships with our pets.

Thirdly, and perhaps more importantly to pet lovers, we already see too many people bringing home pets only to later find they don't want them.  A false incentive, such as a tax deduction, rather than a true incentive, such as the desire to provide a loving home for a pet, could result in more neglected pets.  Pets need owners who love them regardless of the costs and hardships that come with some.  In my opinion, pets do not need owners who believe they need a tax deduction to provide adequate care.

While I’d rather see my vet get paid and less of my money going to the federal government, the best thing Congress can do for pets is to stop the madness that is killing our economy.
Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter has introduced well-meaning legislation that is certain to tug at the heartstrings of animal lovers.  H.R. 3501, the ‘Happy Act,’ would provide pet owners a tax deduction of up to $3,500 annually for pet care.

The deduction is not available for pet acquisition costs, but is intended for veterinary and other pet care costs.  Yet one of the sponsor’s stated reasons is that, due to the economy, pet shelters are overcrowded.  People losing jobs and even having to abandon homes result in many abandoned pets.  Congressman McCotter believes the deduction would encourage pet adoption by loving owners.  Maybe; maybe not.

I have six rescued dogs, three rescued cats and three rescued ponies, and I oppose this bill.  First of all, the tax code is already too filled with social engineering provisions.  Secondly, I don’t see a ‘Pet Clause’ in Article I of the Constitution. I worry about the federal government having any regulatory power over our relationships with our pets.

Thirdly, and perhaps more importantly to pet lovers, we already see too many people bringing home pets only to later find they don't want them.  A false incentive, such as a tax deduction, rather than a true incentive, such as the desire to provide a loving home for a pet, could result in more neglected pets.  Pets need owners who love them regardless of the costs and hardships that come with some.  In my opinion, pets do not need owners who believe they need a tax deduction to provide adequate care.

While I’d rather see my vet get paid and less of my money going to the federal government, the best thing Congress can do for pets is to stop the madness that is killing our economy.