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Gingersnap
10-14-2009, 01:40 PM
Can Your Pet Save You on Your Taxes?

Hollywood Tough Guy Robert Davi Teams With Animal Rights Groups to Push for Tax Change
By RICK KLEIN and HUMA KHAN
Oct. 13, 2009

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Will Max be a tax break? Can Fido help with FICA?

Animal shelters are overflowing with abandoned pets.A bill making the rounds on Capitol Hill marries two feel-good propositions -- tax cuts and pet ownership -- to generate a novel idea: A tax break of up to $3,500 per person for pet care expenses.

The measure is a legislative long shot. But it's been championed by a veteran Hollywood tough guy and by a conservative Michigan congressman, and has drawn the enthusiastic support of animal rights groups eager to promote pet ownership during economic down times.

"We think this is as much a health care bill as any," said Nancy Perry, vice president of government affairs at the Humane Society of the United States. "It's a human health issue to ensure that pets are provided with better care because of the role they play in our families."

The measure even has a snappy acronym: the HAPPY Act, as in Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years.

"What a pro-active way to be able to help the economy and change the culture in this country around animals," Robert Davi, a veteran actor ("The Goonies," "Die Hard," "License to Kill") who was a main force behind the bill's introduction, told ABCNews.com in a telephone interview.

"This money goes back into the economy, and it encourages people to understand the social responsibilities we have toward animals," Davi said.

I have four pets and 3 animal "investments" (horses). They do cost a bundle to feed and care for. One of my dogs just racked up an enormous vet bill last month.

That said, the last thing I want is to be beholden to the government for my pet ownership. This looks like a 'feel good' bill but how long before the tax break becomes a positive enforcement measure? You can write off Fluffy's expenses but you also have to get Fluffy a wellness check every year and allow bureaucrats entrance to your home to ensure that Fluffy has a "meaningful environment"?

Sure, 10 years ago this kind of speculation would have seemed like Coast-to-Coast crazy talk. Does it really seem that far-fetched today?

ABC (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/pets-save-taxes-congress-debate-happy-act/story?id=8811927)