HAPPY Act: $3,500 Pet Care Expenses Deduction (Proposed)

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Jim & TobeyWouldn’t you throw your support behind something called the HAPPY Act? I know I would, it sounds so… cheery!

It exists and it’s a bill that has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI). The Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act, H.R. 3501, would offer a $3,500 tax deduction for qualified pet care expenses. A qualified pet is a “legally owned, domesticated, live animal” that isn’t used for research or business. Expenses cover pet products, service, veterinary visits, and basically anything that is related to the care of a pet.

It seems like a difficult time to be introducing this bill when we have so many other economic issues to deal with but it sure is sweet. 🙂

First reaction: Frivolous deficit spending? Or legitimate deduction we should entertain?

{ 109 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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109 Responses to “HAPPY Act: $3,500 Pet Care Expenses Deduction (Proposed)”

  1. Diana says:

    After reading many of the above comments, I have to say I feel the same way about people that take deductions for their children.

    I don’t have children. Although I don’t use any of the services that are supplied to children for the government, I’m certainly paying taxes for them.

    If everyone is worried about more tax breaks, maybe they should not pass this law and severly cut the tax breaks given to people that are supplying more children for already overburdened services.

  2. robi says:

    If anyone wants a real shocker, just bing or google House of Representative Bills and then read through the LONG and AMAZINGLY bizarre list of proposed legislation. It will make you wonder how our elected reps are spending their time (hint: not wisely.)

    What part of We Need Revenue doesn’t sink in with these people?

  3. LP says:

    From the news segment I saw on this, it was proposed due to the fact that pet ownership enhances the health of humans. If the side effect is that it increases the adoption of homeless pets, then I’m for it. I have a cat and have always had pets. I would welcome the tax break. The problem with this is that it will not stop Little Johnny’s new Christmas pet from being recycled through the system come Spring time when the family is done with caring for the pet. We would have mass adoptions and mass relinquishings by all of the total idiots that can’t tell the difference between a real pet and a stuffed animal. They don’t have the common sense to know that a pet is a reciprocal relationship in which you should have the “responsible” upper hand. So I love the HAPPY Act, but here come the idiots.

  4. Chris says:

    This is and Awesome idea let it pass

  5. Shirley says:

    I think it’s great…we’re blowing money to the wind with people either illegal or to lazy to work so why not make some caring person and their pet happy.

  6. Jack Nelson says:

    I agree with Shirley. The government is already wasting money, so it definately makes sense to waste more money. Shirley, you should think about running for a spot on your city council.

  7. C. Oakbraae says:

    I don’t often contribute to animal rescue organizations because I have 6 cats and 1 dog currently. I rationalize that caring for them is my contribution. When I rescue an animal, I consider that I’m responsible for it for life. As a retired school teacher, the costs of caring for my brood, especially as they age, has put me on the edge financially. The other expense that has me just making it is my own health care expenses. What a difference H.R. Bill 3501 would make in my life. Thank you Congressmember McCotter for introducing this bill.

  8. cs says:

    I think this is a great idea. Vet bills are through the roof and quality pet food is getting higher and higher too. Even cat litter has doubled in price in the last year or so. – My dog is a chewer and barely avoided surgery a few months ago and the vet bill was still hundreds of dollars. I have thought many times that if this happens again and she needs surgery, I just cannot afford it and do not know what I would do. Everything costs a fortune these days and I think this tax benefit would give people a safety net to fall back on and also encourage them to keep up good care of their pet, knowing they will get reimbursed to some extent. I would hate to have to give up my dog or have her put down because I could not afford some needed medical procedure or surgery.

  9. langroves713 says:

    i like the idea my husband and i have adopted 3 cat from the humane socity and one of them we got on sepmteber 11, 2001 and the my oldest is now 10years old i also have 1 more cat and a dog and a bird so i hope it passes i have no kids and these animals are my kids they all have human names my oldest cat is crystal then jasmine, gracie, snowflake and my dog is a pom pom and his name is max and my bird is named stormy so ya i hope the bill passes that will help us out a lot

  10. Claire says:

    I think the deduction for the animals is good. Vet bills are super expensive, especially vets whose specialty are exotic animals (ferrets, rats, etc). Food costs also go up, especially for individuals with multiple pets in the house. I hope the bill passes.

    • Zyzzyx says:

      There should be a deduction for cars too. Mechanics bills are super expensive, especially for mechanics that work on the exotics like Ferrari and Lamborghini. Maintenance costs also go up, especially with multiple cars in the house. And if you’re trying to keep some old classics in good shape, or even restore them, the costs there should be able to be deducted, you’re doing good by saving these cars for future generation.

      OK, more than a bit of sarcasm, but really… why don’t we just deduct *everything* and then no one has to pay any taxes?


  11. mt says:

    Amazing, I love my pets dearly. But a child tax break is only 1000.00. So are they saying my pets are worth more? I guess people will run to the pound and get dogs now and then after they are not needed any longer for the tax break, they’ll be dumped once again. I love my dogs, and could use any break I can get with their expences. But I’ve made it this far without any handouts. And even able to feed some I find dumped from time to time. I wish people were as loyal as dogs. Ever notice a dog dumped off sits and waits for him owner to return? Wonder if my spouse would wait for me to return? Huh, that’s a laugh.

  12. kate says:

    This is great! I think this is one of the best ideas ever! 5 years ago, for every cat or dog to have a home, each PERSON (not family or house) would have to have 7 animals. Now with today’s difficulties, even more animals are being abandoned and euthanized. This would allow people to keep their pet and also to let others who would like one but could not afford one to do do so. I have 3 cats and 2 dogs. 3 of them are rescue animals that someone just dumped. Between them, just on food alone I spend about $1800/yr. THis bill would be a blessing!

  13. skippyqsb says:

    I’m all for this. For once a tax deduction bill that could be used by everyone. A lot of people are abandoning their pets right now, because they are trying to cut costs. They are not taking them to shelters because most of the shelters actually charge people up to $100 to drop off their pets. It’s lunacy. Realtors are now saying their worst nightmare is getting a forclosure home to sell. They go in and there are dead or dieing animals who had been abandoned and locked inside for weeks, even months.
    If we can give people tax breaks for buying a damn $40K SUV, or $4500 when they can afford to buy a car, or $15,000 when they can afford to buy a home, why not a tax break for animals? What’s wrong with a tax break aimed at people who can’t afford these luxury items that the other tax breaks are for? To some people that pet is their only family. Not only do they care deeply for that pet, but that pet maybe the only thing that makes them feel like someone actually cares they are alive.

    • animal lover says:

      Thank you! That NEEDED to be said. I worked for a company that maintained bank owned homes, and some of the pics the contractors took made me sick of the deceased animals. With all of our jobs going over seas any ways, why not adopt a baby and treat it the way it should be treated. They are like kids, and even though us true animal lovers do not ask for a dime, it would be great to get to claim them as ” children” per say, because really they are.

  14. debbie Chiapperino says:

    I think that this necessary. I believe that if people could write off their animals there would be less of them being turned into the streets cause the shelters are full. I have taken in four kittens from my yard and now in the process of trying to take another in. This cat was definetly dumped on the street as he is too loveable and trusting to be a stray. I am trying to get him and mine used to each other and it is hard. I have paid to have him get his shots and tested to make sure he is not sick. He is being fixed next week and I hope that he calms downs and lets my guy near him. If people could write off the animals he may not have been dumped and not have to adjust to my pets. If I can’t get him to adjust I either have to leave him at a shelter and since they are all full I may have to let him back into the street, which I really don’t want to. Pass this bill so this doesn’t happen to anymore cats or dogs. When I travel to PR every year I ride around with dog food im my trunk and now have added cat food to feed all the strays in the streets. Help stop this by supporting this bill.

  15. reinkefj says:

    Let’s pretend for a minute. Suppose that half the taxpayers take the deduction and half-don’t. Suppose that all things are equal; ignoring the impact of the deduction and tax rates. WHY should PETER be forced at gun point to pay for PAUL’s pet?

    Cut to the bottom line: Why?

    See the problem. No one speaks for the robbery victim in this morality play — PETER.


    • Andrew says:

      For the same reason that Peter pays for Paul’s children, Paul’s social security, Paul’s highways, etc. That’s how government works. That having been said, I don’t think we should give people tax breaks for pets, children, religion, driving, employer-paid health insurance, or any of the other things we give them tax breaks for, even though I benefit from a number of these tax breaks. I think everyone should pay tax on every dollar of their income, full stop.

  16. Pet lover says:

    Even though this country is messed up I think it is about time the non-breeders get a break. I have pets that I dearly love and do not have children. I am sick of my tax dollars going to pay for people who choose to have children they can’t afford. Though I am a very responsible pet owner it would be great to be able to deduct some of the expense. If others can get a hand out why not pet owners. I have all rescue animals and support many rescue organizations. Part of the shelter over population issue is due to people not being able to aford their pets bills any longer through no fault of their own. So I say give me a break or take some breaks away from those that abuse the current systems.

    • Andrew says:

      Nonbreeders get a huge break – not having to pay for their children’s support and education. If you think the tax deduction is enough to defray these expenses, I say you’re dreaming. Nonetheless, I agree that if children are tax deductible, pets should be, too. That being said, I’d prefer a tax deduction for adopting a shelter pet and a tax surcharge for buying a pet from a breeder.

  17. Pat says:

    What a joke! People are losing their jobs and going hungry and they want to give $ to dog owners. What the heck is this country coming to?????

  18. cs says:

    You think buying from a breeder deserves a luxury tax? That’s ridiculous. I don’t have any kids and I pay all the taxes for kids, their education etc and that is not considered a luxury.

  19. Animals Need You says:

    I think this is a great idea. I have 12 cats. 7 are a feral colony that I take care of. All my cats were rescued or adopted. It cost to feed them and there is the yearly vet bill. If this was passed into law, maybe more people would adopt animals instead of them being in shelters or eating out of dumpsters. There are programs all over for feral cats. they can be neutered/spayed cheap. They just need a home and love. The love they give you in return cannot be replaced. Pass the law.

  20. Tracy says:

    Speaking of children, I can see this type of credit looking like our current foster care system. Well-meaning, honest people using the funds to love and care for animals vs. dishonest thieves taking in animals for the cash and neglecting their responsibilities as a pet owner. At least children have the ability to grow up and choose their way out of a painful situation.

    On a side note, if you REALLY care about the animal over population issue, you don’t buy your pets from breeders. Seems like a no brainer to me, but…

  21. cs says:

    Why is it that all those oppose to breeders call names and get nasty? Here, try this on for a realistic ad from a Humane Society:

    “Adopt a cat, kitten, dog, or puppy from a shelter. Bring home an animal with enough vet bills you will go broke and/or spend months nursing it back to health. Who cares if no one knows the background, if it was abused and might one day maim or kill your child? What is more important, saving a life from the shelter or your family? You are an evil person if you won’t spend the time and money to correct the health and hire a trainer to get this sick and maladjusted animal in your home and save a life.”

    Yeah, people would be flocking to adopt if this was the slogan, such a no brainer. – Signed by someone who adopted one puppy needing to be nursed (and successfully was) back from distemper; one dog too aggressive to remain in the house more than 3 days; one puppy labled ‘Shepherd Mix’ that was actually a Chow Mix who spent 2 weeks terrorizing the owners’ cats and then bit such, who tried to follow the advice of a trainer to ‘intervene.’ Finally was returned to shelter on advice of the veterinarian, who advised getting a purebred of owner’s choice – who did this and still has the dog a year later.

    • Stacey says:

      Yeah well I can tell a much different story. My first purebred dog died at 8 weeks from Parvo – never had it in my home before & she was UTD on the shots – according to the breeder – and not due yet for her next. My current purebred dog is riddled with cancer & has cost me more in his life time than ANY of my rescues (not that he’s not worth every penny) – even the one who I had to pay for hip surgery for. And except for 1 exception all my rescues dogs & cats have been amazing.

  22. Joyce says:

    I was an LPN for more than twenty-five years. I cared for people as a life profession, but retirement as former LPN is not desirable in income. I have never married or had children. I have three dogs, two of them or rescue dogs. I love them dearly and they are truly my family. They are the living beings that really care about me. Caring for them keeps me in debt with vet bills and their daily nutrition is a burden also. Nevertheless, life would be meaninngless for me withouth them. After retirement when I accepted the animals, I did not realize how difficult the financial task would be. How can I part with them now? At sixty-nine years old, it is not always easy to find employment particularly with health problems. With out these animals my life would not be worth living enven though I do creative writing and some singing without pay I might add.

  23. cs says:

    I have spent a small fortune on my pets, purebred or not. I think it goes with the territory. I desperately wanted to adopt this very cute collie mix from the local shelter, but I could tell he had kennel cough. I told the workers and they said “oh no, that is because he just got neutered he is coughing.” I came back the next day and he was gone. They said he’d been sent to foster home because he had kennel cough. I called the exact date he was supposed to be back and he had been adopted because whoever fostered him found him a home. So it is not like I have not given up on shelter animals, but I have never had one good experience. And if that collie mix puppy had not had kennel cough, I would have gotten him that day and I was waiting for him the day he got out, but he was already spoken for.

    There are breeders and there are breeders. The one I got my puppy from was so paranoid about parvo, she made me take off my shoes and bleached down every relevant part of me. I needed a puppy that would get along with a cat and had my cat with me and she would not let the puppy touch ground. We finally compromised by letting them meet in the back of her flatbed truck. – Also the owner must do their share. My vet said to give parvo shots every 2-4 weeks until after 12 weeks old and not to expose my puppy to others until after this. I did this.

    Just because they are vaccinated, doesn’t mean they won’t get a disease. Maternal immunity does not wear off until between 8-12 weeks and the shots will not really take until this happens. There is no way to know this, but to give the shots. My vet was also very paranoid about parvo and gave parvo shots in between the regular shots (which also included parvo) to make sure the puppy was protected.

    And then sometimes, despite best of precautions, bad things happen anyway. Be that as it may, I go to our city Animal Task force and someone from the shelter is there and she outright said all the animals in the shelter are sick. As if I could not see this myself – some more seriously than others, but still…

  24. leslie says:

    Maybe I’m among the few, but I have 4 dogs, one of them being handicapped and I must say the expenses to take care of these animals is enormous. I would appreciate a tax credit and feel that possibly people that can no longer afford to care for their pets would opt to keep them rather than putting them in a shelter if they knew they would get some relief financially.

    The numbers of our furry friends that are killed every year is huge. I’m sure many would be saved if people didn’t have to give them up for financial reasons.

  25. Holly says:

    This just falls in line with the Traceability Act…All animals will have to be registered whether they are for pets, family food, or for market. Its all about control. Please wake up and see beyond the shiny trinket. Question the agenda behind this proposal and don’t let it pass! I love animals…but a tax credit? This will be abused by government and it will encourage abuse on more innocent animals for their write-off value.

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