Groups Fight Proposal to Tax Vet Care for Pets

Animal welfare advocates across California urge pet owners to act.

Posted: November 24, 2008, 5 a.m. EST

Ever since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger went public with his plan to dig the state of California out of an $11.2 billion budget hole by charging sales tax for “luxury” items such as appliance and furniture repair, vehicle repair, golf, and veterinary services, animal welfare groups across the state have begun to mobilize in an effort to defeat the proposal.

Judie Mancuso, president of Social Compassion in Legislation, a nonprofit focused on managing the pet population through legislation, said that the last thing that families need during this time of economic uncertainty is an increase in medical costs. “Our companion animals are family members and taking care of their health is a responsibility, not a discretionary spending decision like golf or furniture repair,” Mancuso said in a statement.

According to the governor’s website, this plan is expected to generate additional General Fund sales tax revenue of $357 million. If passed, the proposal would be effective Feb. 1, 2009.

However, Dr. Barbara Hodges of the Humane Society Veterinary Medial Association said that veterinary care should not be considered a nonessential or luxury service, but rather as truly essential family medical services. Hodges and other professionals in the field expressed concerns about the new tax possibly forcing pet owners to delay seeking care for their cats and dogs and putting off necessary treatments such as heartworm medication.

Budget negotiations are ongoing between the governor and legislative leaders. The special session to deal with the state’s budget crisis ends for the year on Nov. 30.


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Catherine   Newark, DE

11/20/2010 6:52:20 PM

In additon to the below comment. In Delaware, vet expenses are not tax deductable. How can that be done??? thanks again Catherine G

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Catherine   Newark, DE

11/20/2010 6:49:53 PM

Hello Pet
Vet bills are sky rocketing. I am widowed, living only on my income. I want the best care for my dogs. I went to the vet the other day. My dog was not examined. It was a talk consultation and meds. $81.00. Just a poop sample (pardon the expression), is 56.oo. Heartworm meds plus the test. is $100.00 or more. Our companions and loyal friends need good care if they are to be healthy and live a long life. what is the solution?? thanks Catherine G

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efn   bismark, SD

4/1/2009 6:38:55 AM

it's amazing to think that the services a Vet performs are taxable, when the services that Arnold's doctor are not - they both went to medical school - what's more, the vet has MORE education?? explain how the same services - though rendered to a different species are given different tax status? Who dreams up this stuff? Do we tax Beer with alchol, but not the stuff that's NON-alcoholic?????

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2/15/2009 7:36:18 AM


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