College of Veterinary Medicine

From the Dean

The HAPPY Act

by Bryan 10. August 2009 06:59

Another blog, another acronym...in this case the Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years act, known officially as HR 3501, recently introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. McCotter of Michigan.  This bill would amend the Internal Revenue Service code to allow up to $3,500 in deduction for expenses "paid in connection with providing care (including veterinary care) for a qualified pet".  I have not explored the bill in depth to discover what "care" other than veterinary care would be allowed, but I presume this would mean such things as "doggie day care", grooming, and so on.

More details, including a link to the text of the bill, can be found hereI will mostly let this pass without comment, although in spite of the importance of our cats to my family, my recognition of the changing role of companion animals in society, and my involvement in this profession, I am still taking a bit of a sideways glance at this.

I am very curious as to what you might think.  Is this a good idea in general?  What about the proposed deduction in relation to the structure of the deduction to your own health care costs?  Do you think this would, in fact, increase pet care utilization, for the benefit of the pet?

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Comments (4) -

8/10/2009 7:24:21 AM #

Rick DeBowes

Interesting as I have long wondered how long it would take for the human pet veterinarian bond to reach into society so far that federal legislation would be forthcoming to support it.  The pendulum continues to swing.

Rick DeBowes United States

8/10/2009 7:54:14 AM #

Betsy C.

I must say that this causes me a little concern and though I consider all 4 of my dogs as members of the family, I am just a bit uneasy about this idea.  However, I am thankful that you brought it to my attention so I can explore further.  Not sure what all the ramifications are, but will definitely try to educate myself so I can provide a more thoughtful response.

Have a great COUGAR day!!!

Betsy C.

Betsy C. United States

8/10/2009 8:33:10 AM #

Roger McClellan

I suspect the key words are "qualified pet". It could be that the legislation is intended to provide certain tax benefits to the owners of "qualified pets" such as seeing eye dogs, etc. I suggest some one critically review the bill that was introduced. As always with legislation the devil is in the details. Remeber the old adage-- "The legislative process is like makin]g sausage, one does not really want to know what goes in or how it is added!"

As an aside, the New York Times on Saturday or Sunday had a great story comparing pet care and human care in the United Kingdom. It was written only partly tongue in cheek by a UK Physician/ Writer. One key point is that in Veterinary Medicine the client pays, hopefully, when the service is delivered.

Roger McClellan United States

8/10/2009 9:47:44 AM #

Donald Kelts

To the extent this was considered a necessary health benefit for the owners, I guess I could agree. But as always the "devil is in the details". For one thing, the feds would not make it available to all qualified persons, it would be unavailable to people with incomes over......, you fill in the blank. And regulating who is eligible could be a nightmare of administrative costs. And why should non pet owners be subsidizing pet owners through the taxes they pay?

Donald Kelts United States

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