11/02/16 Dog Tax would Save the Lives of Thousands of Abandoned Dogs!

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Animal Friends explains its support for the proposal to introduce the so-called dog tax in nine points

- Dog buyers, breeders, and sellers should be taxed, not those who adopt a dog from a shelter

In response to the recent press and considerable public interest concerning the possible introduction of the so-called dog tax, Animal Friends will send a letter to the Ministry of Finance regarding the introduction of such a tax. The association lists the conditions under which it would support a dog tax, offers its suggestions, and explains in nine points what such a tax would mean for the protection of animals:

  1. The dog tax is not part of the Animal Protection Act—In the sessions of the Commission for amendments to the Animal Protection Act, the association supported the proposal of other members of the Commission to introduce a dog tax for the purpose of promoting responsible care for animals and preventing their abandonment. The dog tax cannot be part of the Animal Protection Act, and the Ministry of Finance has not yet drafted a bill on the matter.
  2. Tax for dog buyers and seller—Dogs are killed in Croatian shelters every day. Thousands of healthy animals get killed annually. Shelters are packed with dogs, but instead of adopting those in need, many people buy dogs and support their breeding and exploitation. Therefore, only those who buy a dog would pay the tax. If people are willing to pay several thousand kunas for a dog instead of adopting one for free, they shouldn’t have a problem paying the tax. Dog breeders and sellers should also be taxed.
  3. Tax exemption for adopting animals from shelters—Those who adopt a dog from a shelter would not have to pay dog tax because they would already be helping reduce the number of abandoned dogs in the community. Dogs taken in from the street need to be registered with an animal shelter so that the adoption process can go through the shelter. A found dog has to be registered as an abandoned animal, microchipped, and spayed/neutered.
  4. Spaying/neutering benefits—The association advocates benefits for spaying/neutering through a tax reduction. Spaying/neutering prevents the risk of unwanted puppies.
  5. Dog tax money, spaying/neutering programs, and medical treatment of dogs—The association would support the idea of a dog tax only if it were to be introduced on the state level and if the taxpayers' money would not fill the state coffers, but be used to protect animals. The money would be dedicated for spaying/neutering programs, medical care, animal adoption, and educating citizens on animal rights. For example, the tax funds would enable the spaying/neutering, microchipping, and vaccination of more than 3,000 dogs in Medjimurje county Roma villages, who are suffering and dying from disease and abuse on a daily basis.
  6. Symbolic tax amount—It is very important that the tax not be high, but symbolic and aimed at improving animal welfare. The association proposes that the amount be less that the price of vaccination, which would significantly help other, abandoned dogs. The competent ministry should decide on the specific amount.
  7. Tax because of microchipping—A dog tax would improve the implementation of the Animal Protection Act and related regulations and ensure the microchipping of all dogs in Croatia, which is required by law. At the moment, 30% of dogs in Croatia have not been microchipped. Those dogs end up in shelters, where most of them are killed after 60 days.
  8. Dog tax in other European countries—The draft that the association supported emphasized that some other European countries, such as Germany and Austria, have introduced a similar tax in order to promote responsible animal care and prevent animal abandonment.
  9. It would be impossible to introduce a cat tax because there is no legal requirement to microchip cats.

A dog tax would hopefully reduce the number of purchased dogs while promoting dog adoption and spaying/neutering. The association believes that introducing a dog tax would result in better control over microchipping and vaccination, with the final goal of stopping the abandonment and killing of dogs, along with promoting their greater responsibility and care.

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