Should pet owners get a tax break?

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

For many, their pets are a part of the family, and when it comes to what they need only the best will do.

"If you love your pet, you're going to take care of it," said pet owner, Teresa Morris.

One Michigan lawmaker is proposing a bill to help pet owners take care of their pets.  It's the Happy Act.  It would allow pet owners a tax credit to help with pet expenses.

"Personally,  I think it would be a good idea if people didn't pursue a pet that wouldn't later take care of it in order to get the tax break," said Morris.

That's just one concern with the bill that is currently in committee.  Northeast Arkansans' For Animals Director Wannda Turner says, there are still a lot of unknowns about the proposed bill.

"It is a tax credit which means you would have to itemize so from that standpoint I don't believe it's going to help the people that are disadvantaged, the elderly, who don't itemize their taxes anyway," said Turner.

The proposed bill limits pet owners to $3,500 in the taxable year for deductions.  Turner says which deductions are eligible, right now isn't clear.

"To get the tax credit you actually have to spend the money.   So getting the pet to just spend the money to then throw the pet away may not make any sense," said Turner.

Turner says people who love their pets are going to take care of them anyway--tax credit or not.

"Same with people and their children, they take care of their children because they're family not because they get money from Uncle Sam," said Turner.

"I think it would help if they were pet owners like me.  If someone would take advantage of it which so many people do...I wouldn't want it," said Frances Jones.

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