H.R. 3501, The Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act (64 comments ↓)

  • This item is from the 111th Congress (2009-2010) and is no longer current. Comments, voting, and wiki editing have been disabled, and the cost/savings estimate has been frozen.

H.R. 3501 would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a deduction for pet care expenses.

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Tax Breaks for Pet Care

The death of Michael Jackson may have eclipsed news of similar import: Gidget, the Taco Bell Chihuahua, has died at the age of fifteen. Whether in response to this national tragedy or not, a bill has been introduced in Congress that could help avert su...

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August 5, 2009, 12:59pm (report abuse)

Anything that allows me keeping more of my money, I'm for.


August 6, 2009, 12:04am (report abuse)

take my tax money and give to you?

I hate pets?


August 6, 2009, 6:38am (report abuse)

It's NOT taking your money, it's letting me KEEP mine, thank you very much. It's a deduction, not a tax that takes MY money and redistributes it to everyone else.

Jimmy Fred

August 6, 2009, 3:49pm (report abuse)

Increase my income tax, sales tax, property tax, etc. and give a tax break for pet owners...Does that make any sense?


August 7, 2009, 8:49am (report abuse)

Why do people vote "yes" when they don't know anything about it?


August 12, 2009, 3:16pm (report abuse)

TG, it would be about time. I've had to give away our tax money to ppl who have kids w/ the (un)earned tax credit. It would be nice to get to keep a little more of MY money. I choose to have pets, I did NOT choose for others to have offspring. If they want 'em, let them pay for them as well ... the same as I do for my pets (pets, which mind you WERE someone else's throw aways). I'm helping to clean up the nation by taking in unwanted pets, it's about time I get a deduction for having a heart.


August 12, 2009, 4:32pm (report abuse)

I agree with SunnyS, and I read the bill in its entirety unlike many of you. I don't have kids, and I don't use the public pools, libraries, schools, buses, schools and the plethora of other public amenities my tax dollars contribute to for kids I don't have nor want! Most of whom have a horribly education anyway. I take in an adopt pets (namely parrots) who are extremely expensive to care for and that other other people don't want, or can no longer care for. I take that expense on the chin, while saving the state money. I could sign up to be a nonprofit, but I'm simply not big enough, this just simplifies things. Why shouldn't I get a break!


August 13, 2009, 11:36am (report abuse)

How can we give tax breaks for pets when there are people without health care? Those of you without children, were you never a child? Did you go to school, or the library when you were a child? Who paid for that?


August 13, 2009, 4:35pm (report abuse)

We give tax credit for people who give or have given back to society. We give exemptions for children, for the elderly, for families that help grow and make society better. Though pets do give a lot of happiness to their owners, they do nothing for society itself. The cow on the farm at the daily does more for society then Rover ever will, but old Betsy is a business deduction.


August 18, 2009, 11:58am (report abuse)

I agree with Sunny S and FlaKiwi. My husband and I do not have children nor want any children but we are left paying for other people's offspring, that's not fair to us. We adopt the unwanted and we should have a break!!

Linda Scott

August 18, 2009, 1:49pm (report abuse)

Pets are probably more effective at promoting human physical and mental health than much of the drug-focused health care industry. I evaluated H. R. 3501 as long overdue health care reform, a cost friendly tool to lower spiraling medical bills. Isn't a pound of prevention worth more than a pound of cure?

Cal Nelson

August 18, 2009, 7:13pm (report abuse)

I want a deduction for the cost of having snow cleaned off my driveway. It's a health risk. And I want a dedudtion for wild bird seed because birds make me feel good. And I want a deduction for the food I eat because I would die otherwise. And I want a deduction for my clothes because otherwise I would freeze or get arrested for indecent exposure. And I want a deduction for the cost of my car because I need one. And I want a deduction for the electricity I use to run this computer, because otherwise, lawmakers will continue to push this country so far into debt that it collapses just like all of the other great economic powers have once society gets so spoiled that they expect everything to pe paid for by someone else.

Bill N

August 19, 2009, 1:28pm (report abuse)

What's wrong with us pet owners getting a break, too. I have paid my dues for those of you who have children through school tax, etc. We have no children and this bill gives us some help. And pets do give things to society, How about a police dog? and those that help with other physical and mental health issuses. You should read the bill and then comment.

Chris W

August 21, 2009, 3:03pm (report abuse)

I want the personal deduction to equal my entire income...now that's real tax reform

Chris W

August 21, 2009, 3:10pm (report abuse)

I also call on Congress to introduce the "Toilet Paper Tax Deduction Act". For too long, US citizens have been buying rolls of toilet paper in a frantic attempt to maintain cleanliness. Until now, Congress has ignored this urgent need for families, elderly, and workers. Congress must act now to allow all Americans to tabulate their daily usage of this valuable commodity, and send to the IRS this information to receive a tax credit comensurate with their usage. Contact your representative today!


August 25, 2009, 10:07am (report abuse)

I have pets and would benefit from a tax deduction for their care; however I feel that this bill is nowhere near specific enough and that it would provide irresponsible people with a means to collect money just for having animals, without actually caring for them. Perhaps I am wrong, but I do not see a section in the bill that requires that reciepts for all animal-care-related purchases be provided in order to claim and be awarded the deduction.

Cranky Yankee

August 26, 2009, 4:47pm (report abuse)

To all of you who think this is a fun subject to be sarcastic about, I'd hate to see how you treat truly needy people (not just the ones who willfully go without health insurance because they'd rather buy cable tv and lattes instead, and yes, I can name names...) You have no soul and I shudder to think you can vote. But here's a fun sarcastic idea for you. Since we "euthanize" millions of unwanted pets in shelters every year (which apparently your cold hearts think is an acceptable expression of humanity), how about we euthanize unwanted children as well? What unwanted children you say? The ones who are in the foster care system, bounced around until they're 18 and then we all get to pay for them being on welfare or in prison. Wouldn't they and we be better off if they were "euthanized" just like the dogs in shelters that no one wants? We pet owners will get this deduction one day and then throw it in your faces.

Don't Mess with Texas

August 27, 2009, 3:05pm (report abuse)

Thank you Cranky Yankee it’s a shame that animals are viewed as expendable entities, with little or no value. I truly don’t understand this psychopathic mind set to view any helpless living entity with zero compassion. So go ahead and yuck it up psychos – one day one of your fellow brethren might be changing your diapers in the nursing home you end up end. Karma – what goes around comes around.

A Kimball

August 28, 2009, 4:43pm (report abuse)

Have we lost our senses? Maybe somebody could adopt a homeless person or an old person and get a tax credit!! I LOVE my 4 cats, but I surely don't expect a tax credit for them or for any that I adopt. I am embarrased that a Republican would sponsor such a bill. What is he really looking for? In the coming years, we are going to have to pay more taxes, so why would we look to give a tax credit for insanity?

NO TAX CREDIT FOR PETS. Don't even bring this to the floor. I think this is a way for Congressman McCotter to get Democratic support.

I'm here shaking my head in disbelief.

P Murray

August 29, 2009, 6:52am (report abuse)

This is truly, truly outrageous! Our country has never faced so clear a disaster as our national debt and bankrupt entitlement funds; ie SS and Medicare/aid. That a Republican would introduce this silly bill is incomprehensible. Please wake up, America!


(logged-in user) August 29, 2009, 6:46pm (report abuse)

I'm in favor of any tax credit I can get. With the size of "our" national debt, and the inevitable raising of taxes to pay that down, the amount of credit this bill talks about is miniscule. It's not taking money out of anyone else's pocket, it's letting me keep more of mine. I'll be paying enough to the government to keep everyone happy.


September 4, 2009, 10:41am (report abuse)

For those who think animals contribute nothing. Try telling that to people in a nursing home. Or tell it to the 100s of ppl saved annually by their pets. Try searching heroic animals online. Now how many of the offspring of welfare, crack addicts that we support w/ tax dollars from the time of conception do you think grow up to contribute that much. Children are a choice, the breeding of animals is a DIRECT result of humans. We SHOULD be cleaning up the mess of what we have done to animals and we SHOULD get credit for it. If you can not afford to pay for your kids you shouldn't be having them. Birth control is cheap or even free thanks to tax payers. People INTENTIONALLY exploit animals for profit. A heart beat is a heart beat, blood is blood it does not matter the body in which it originates. If we exploit them for profit, those of us cleaning up the mess should get to keep OUR money. It's not costing anyone any of their money.


September 18, 2009, 5:32pm (report abuse)

I think it's about time that we DO have a tax credit for our pets! And I agree with SunnyS. We pay enough taxes for others who have babies after baby; people in prison; crack addicts ,etc., etc.

It's about time we got a deduction to help us help the animals in this world that was here before us! And it's because of irresponsible pet owners that there are so many pets without homes and are either given a chance, and being adopted or just using our tax dollars to send them to death row! I vote to KEEP our pets AND our money! And it's NOT coming out of anyone's else's pocket either!


September 19, 2009, 8:22am (report abuse)

I really agree with that. I still have to pay for others to have child after child, some that are not even really cared for properly, I prefer my animal companions, and had two children of my own. My children are now grwon and gone, I love them but would never do it again. We are resposible for these animals and provide for the at a large cost at times. I would just like to deduct their medical care as I did for my children, not alot, animals give back more then children, but at least something.

Jane Boyter

September 19, 2009, 12:00pm (report abuse)

All of you are forgetting one big thing whether you like pets or not is the same as whether you like children or not they are all God's creatures made by him and should not be abused or mistreated and God bless all the loving, caring parents of children or pets. There is a place for you for caring for all of God's creatures


September 20, 2009, 1:54pm (report abuse)

I didn't read anything in this bill pertaining to children. This should not be a children vs. animals debate. It's simply a proposed bill to help people care for their pets. It would be a wonderful thing to see people affording their pets rather than dropping them off in parks or even worse, killing them. Wake up people.

S Hoover

September 20, 2009, 8:11pm (report abuse)

This bill is a great idea. For those of you complaining about the deduction, why don't you focus on tax breaks for corporations who then give out ridiculous "golden parachutes" to execs who led their companies into bankruptcy that your tax dollars had to bail out. The only drawback I could foresee would be people taking animals for a tax break and then not caring for them properly.


September 23, 2009, 11:23am (report abuse)

I support H.R. 3501. Before people comment on changes to the Internal Revenue Code, they should understand the proposal. H.R. 3501 is NOT a tax credit; it's a deduction! Big difference! Tax credits are dollar for dollar refunds - where the taxpayer could conceivably receive $3,500 even if they paid no taxes. This is NOT H.R. 3501! A deduction only reduces taxable income by UP TO $3,500, thereby reducing the tax bill by whatever their tax rate is. What most taxpayers fail to understand is they are already paying for unwanted animals - via local tax exempt shelters, animal control officers, euthanasia costs, etc. If there were a tax deduction, to include spaying/neutering costs, this would reduce the number of unwanted pets and costs to local government to collect and euthanize strays. So not only does H.R. 3501 financially make sense for those who don't have pets, it also helps families who do.


September 23, 2009, 9:32pm (report abuse)

I have 3 sons, two dogs, and 1 cat. I love my sons more than life itself and my pets are like family. I have no objection to this bill. It concerns me that there are people who want to help innocent animals but object to helping innocent children. They did not ask to be here either. Why can we not help both? I understand the objections of those who do not want to pay for others to procreate without limits. I just can't penalize an innocent child for a decision an adult made. How about a tax deduction to spay/neuter animals AND people? Just kidding!!


September 28, 2009, 10:33pm (report abuse)

It's a bill about tax breaks for pets. We have lots of tax breaks. Apartment dwellers don't get a mortgage tax break, but homeowners do. But, yes, you can get a tax break if you take in a homeless person and pay more than half his/her living expenses. There are weatherization tax breaks and, yes, tax breaks for having children, even for having too many (that certainly doesn't help society. A tax break for a pet that barks and disturbs the neighborhood doesn't make sense. A tax break for a pet that keeps your blood pressure closer to normal (as studies have shown for most pet owners) makes a lot of sense. Now all you tax haters, cut the hypocrisy and support lower taxes for pet owners, too.


October 14, 2009, 10:03am (report abuse)

I completely support this bill. I support ANYTHING that helps animals and their loving human companions. With a deduction, we can afford to better care for our animals or afford to adopt more. My dogs are rescued and if I could afford to rescue more, I would. Please thank Congressman McCotter for doing something POSITIVE for our downward spiraling country.


October 16, 2009, 9:14pm (report abuse)

I SUPPORT THIS BILL! I am SO sick of paying for other peoples laziness and mistakes - and it's about time I get a break for my fur babies too! I wish we could neuter/spade half the US citizens, waiting on that bill!


October 17, 2009, 12:03pm (report abuse)

I have two dogs but I do not trust anything anymore from our government.

They have something else up their sleeves regarding our pets. I never trusted the 401K either and you see what happened with that. BEWARE


October 17, 2009, 2:58pm (report abuse)

Thank you SunnyS, Linda Scott and MartaG (I love your idea about your neuter/spay program!). All well said! It's amazing how some people are so shallow and callous. All living beings have feelings and a soul and should be treated no less than you would treat yourself.

Arizona Horses

October 19, 2009, 6:44pm (report abuse)

Helping families provide adequate care, vaccinations, spaying, etc. out of their own pocket for the animals that teach children patience, responsibility, companionship, etc. and have demonstrated the ability to keep the aged alert and healthy is good. Vaccinating pets contributes to public health and safety, as does neutering. Counties must use other taxpayer's money and increased license fees to catch and house or euthanize the abandoned. A deduction is not a credit. Childless folks should not be in favor, even in jest, of neutering human beings. Hitler did that to "improve" Germanic blood and get the "defectives" off the public expense of a destitute nation. China dictates one child per couple. Those are not societies America would want to model itself after. We get personal deductions for our own expenses already (food, clothing, shelter), also for our dependents (children and family we support), and food and healthcare for humans is not taxed (YET, but bills are in progress.)


November 1, 2009, 1:09pm (report abuse)

Why don't we just adopt a fair tax and be done with it. The tax code is already so complex, lawyers don't even understand it.


November 2, 2009, 4:17pm (report abuse)

You realize that the deduction only gives returns a portion of your pet care expenses. If you're really interested in saving money, don't get a pet. With a $10T debt, this is a stupid deduction.


November 4, 2009, 10:58am (report abuse)

I LOVE my fur babies and couldnt imagine life without them! As for all of you heartless negative nellies out there, what is it exactly that you do not like about HR 3501? Its not like the money would be coming directly out of your pocket! I fully believe that pets can teach you things that you cant learn in any school: compassion, love, responsibilty, etc. And with this bill I think that more people would be able to take care of their pets during these economic hard times instead of abandoning them, thus lowering the anout of tax dollars needed to support tax exempt shelters and euthanization costs! Its a win win, if you ask me! My only hope is that there want be people adopting animals just for the deduction and not properly take care of them.


November 8, 2009, 10:07pm (report abuse)

I have pets, I love pets, but I sure do not want to take $$$ away from other programs for a deduction. Quit wasting ink and time on frivolous bills and get to work on the pressing issues. How embarrassing. If people "need" a deduction, maybe they should rethink owning a pet. I've seen far too many people that can't pay bills but still own dogs and cats. Pets are not cheap. Find them a home until you can care for them. Don't take on more debt no matter how cute they are. Get real. It's not fair to tax payers, the pets, or yourself if you need a tax deduction to keep them.


November 12, 2009, 9:59am (report abuse)

It is a tax DEDUCTION not a tax CREDIT. There is a big difference. We are allowed many different tax DEDUCTIONs. Such as dry cleaning expenses, tax preparation expenses, etc. Are our pets not as important? According to the H.R. 3501, qualified pet expenses will fall under itemized deductions. Everyone gets to either itemize their deductions or take the standard deduction. The standard deduction is around 10,900 per year. People that are able to itemize their deductions have expenses over the standard deduction. Which means these people must have paid a significant amount in mortgage interest, health care expenses, state income tax, unreimbursed employee expenses, etc.

A pet tax deduction is not a “government handout”, it is not welfare, and it is not food stamps for pets. It means that if you have pets that have qualified expenses, then you get to keep more of the money you make.


November 17, 2009, 7:02pm (report abuse)

Am I missing something? Pet are animals, aren't they? Since when did our society consider animals and people on the same level? This tax deduction is ridiculous. How can you actually say that you'd rather have a pet than a child?

For whomever suggested that we euthanize unwanted children. We do to the tune of about a million a year.

I just cannot believe the overwhelming support for this. Pet are just animals.


November 19, 2009, 1:48pm (report abuse)

Yes they are animals. Some people would rather have animals then children; it is just the way it is. It is our responsibility as human beings to care for animals. Again, there is a dry cleaning deduction, so why not a pet healthcare deduction?

Frank Owens

November 20, 2009, 10:11am (report abuse)

I am a laryngeal cancer survivor and the 2 things that keep me physically , mentally and emotionally stable are not cover government tax deductions nor insurance. are durable medical good and the pet that distracts me from myself.The days I want to give up my small dog has always quietly laid in my lap or Licked my face to make me laugh and so on. I could use the help.

Second I believe it will help aid cruelty prevention people who care a breakin cost.

Third the revenue that may be lost can be regain by imposing stronger penalties for intenional cruelty case.

Fourth neglect creulty cases may be reduced if people could see that there is a benefit to maintaining a healthy animal. With this in mind there is a potential of job increases because of increase need of pet welfare workers. More job more revenue.

Annette S.

December 3, 2009, 12:58pm (report abuse)

I believe this to be a worthwhile bill (I have read it) due to the fact that it may help to save municipalities money by reducing the numbers of pets that end up in shelters. It is a know fact that pets improve mental health!


December 9, 2009, 4:57pm (report abuse)

Does this affect Vets?


December 12, 2009, 10:36pm (report abuse)

I support it. Too many people are unable to afford their pets and have to give them up and they end up in shelters or worse. I'd love to adopt another dog but the cost is too high for care this bill would help.


December 13, 2009, 5:35pm (report abuse)

According to this bill, if you spend money treating your dog, you get back tax dollars. But if you spend money treating your child, you need to spend more than 7.5% of your income in order to get back any tax dollars. So, we treat health care for dogs better than we treat health care for people? Typical Republican.

Michele Dezbor

December 30, 2009, 12:35pm (report abuse)

H.R. 3501 would help to greatly increase the health care of animals. Look how dental and health insurance has helped people who had none take better care of themselves. To pass this bill is the humane thing to do.


January 3, 2010, 8:53am (report abuse)

pet care is truly expensive and any help would encourage badly needed adoptions


January 8, 2010, 3:52pm (report abuse)

You're looking at this from your own personal perspective.....what you fail to take into consideration are the far reaching effects of hundreds of thousands of "pets" people are unable to care for or afford or keep due to:

Foreclosure (their own or their landlord's)

Job Loss

I'm in Vegas.

in 2009, Clark county put down over 40,000 dogs and cats.

That's right, people's former pets.

Ths bill might make give an owner the incentive to keep their pets rather than turn them to the shelter for a small chance at adoption.

Ask yourself what the tax consequences and costs are to care for 40,000 animals for a minimum of

72 hours? Euthanization costs?

Personnel? Facility? Medical care? Food???

That comes directly out of your pocket in the way of TAXES.

Give these pet owners the ability to keep their pets with this tax incentive................and therby

saving the expense from your wallet.

CA Teacher

January 24, 2010, 12:47pm (report abuse)

I completely support this bill as an educator who constantly hears my students talk about how their ignorant, welfare-recipient parents have allowed their dog/cat to have another litter, which they will promptly drop off at the local animal shelter (unless they can profit from it), AND which is paid for by MY tax dollars. Let's reward responsible pet ownership!


February 7, 2010, 3:36pm (report abuse)

I strongly support this tax credit. Being an animal owner myself. I have to disagree with the ones that say pets don't support our society. Just look at the rescue animals and the therapy animals. They play an important role in peoples lives. Its about time the animal owner gets to benefit on all of the hard work and care that they put into their animals, unlike some of the children that are only brought into this world to give their families a bigger tax refund then they put in not to mention all of the tax payers money they take, when they are capable of working themselves.


February 16, 2010, 11:16am (report abuse)

I too support this bill. As a single mother of two, who adopted a puppy a little over 7 years ago. Two years ago my dog was diagnosed with Addison's disease which requires one injection monthly to keep her alive. The injection is only supplyed by one manufacturer and costs $155. This has put a great burden on me financially. It would be nice to have this tax credit. Maybe then I wouldn't feel so bad for taking food from our table to keep the dog alive.

Karl M. Koons Jr. MD

March 26, 2010, 3:52pm (report abuse)

Pets are very important companions for many. Enacting this would help those of us who care for strays/feral cats. Their vets' bills can be costly, but are nesessary.

Wanda in AZ

April 15, 2010, 5:53pm (report abuse)

It is good to see 81% of folks are “for” this Bill.

Years ago we could deduct 100% of our Personal Medical Costs and Union Dues. Several years ago the Federal form started having a percentage ratio & every year these costs end up being ZERO that can be deducted by folks

I think having a deduction with NO percentage figured in on all deductions is a good way to go. Having an up to $3,500 deduction for the care/cost of having a pet or pets is a great idea. As usual we’d have to keep the Veterinarian receipts as proof.

I have 3 elderly cats and 1 elderly dog that are rescued. I prefer animals that "no one wants due to age" because they are the ones that are pretty calm, laid back, and extremely grateful to be "out of a cage at the pound or shelter".

Dying was a reality for them because they were on the "kill list". Some no-kill rescue group took pity on them and saved them because of what is called "New Hope" and only 501C3 non-profits can do this.

I am not 501C3, thanks.

Kim in Hartford

May 31, 2010, 8:40am (report abuse)

I'm behind the tax deduction. It will make compassion less expensive. More compassion and empathy is what this country and the world needs right now.


June 11, 2010, 10:50am (report abuse)

What happened to this Act? I've been watching it for a year now and no activity.


July 7, 2010, 8:36pm (report abuse)

this bill is still in the review stage. 3 more steps after that til it would get voted on.


July 28, 2010, 2:20pm (report abuse)

It sure is taking forever. I need the tax deduction. I actually take good care of my dogs and that costs a lot of money.

Me Again

August 29, 2010, 5:36pm (report abuse)

In most places pet owners are restricted on the number of pets they can own. But, they can have as many kids as they want, even if they are unable to care for them. Look at it this way. If your married (or not) and have 4 kids and pay in $2000 a year in income taxes, SS, etc., and at the end of the year you get $12000 for a tax return (although it's not a return as you never paid that amount into taxes), you are helping add to the national debt. Married couples with no kids pay the highest amount of taxes. Now, before you say thats wrong, two unmarried people living together can earn about $2k more per year without paying taxes on it.


October 23, 2010, 9:30pm (report abuse)

I too have been watching the progression of this bill for over a year. I am sitting on my couch right at this moment with my sick puppy in lap asleep. I found myself praying that the antibiotics are working because I fear additional medical bills. He has a health plan that cost two hundred fifty dollars a year and with this plan I have spent eight hundred dollars out of pocket this year alone. Let’s not even discuss last year. I think that responsible pet owners, like me, deserve a little tax relief. If there are laws to protect animals why shouldn't we have laws that encourage responsible pet care and encourage more people to become pet owners that would decrease pet abandonment, the need for animal shelters, tax dollars for animal control, and euthanization? I could think of a million things more ridiculous that we do with our tax dollars than allowing pet owners a small tax deduction. My puppy is my child.


December 29, 2010, 9:29pm (report abuse)

What happened to this bill when the 11th Congress ended? If it died, will someone re-introduce?

Denise in SL

January 10, 2011, 3:16pm (report abuse)

Every so often I check to see the progress of this bill. I think it would be great for pet owners if they pass this bill. I have three dogs and I pay $1,535.04 per year for their insurance. That alone is already half the amount that I would be able to deduct if this bill is passed. And of course there's the bills themselves and what the insurance doesn't pay. Where I live, practically all the people have pets. At least one if not more. I agree with Reneisha in regards to the fact that there are millions of more ridiculous things that we are taxed for. Yes, my puppies are my children. If I did have children, my puppies would still be my children. They're part of my family, children or no children.


February 14, 2011, 8:50pm (report abuse)

i support this bill. i pretty much agree with sally and cjvegas as to why.

everybody is talking about dogs and cats. i have a lot of snakes and other reptiles and do educational shows with them. a reptile can easily be more expensive to care for then a cat or a dog.

as for the people who talk about things like police dogs and other service animals. they already CAN be deducted.

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