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    Miriam YardenKeeping Tax Collector's Hands Off Our Pets

    by Contributing Editor C. Miriam Yarden, B.Sc., MS

    (Feb. 24, 2009) -- As has separately reported, pet owners and veterinarians went on the electronic warpath to stop the California legislature from expanding CA's sales tax to veterinary services. Since no medical services of any kind are taxed, we felt that our companions are so decidedly our family members that their care should not be burdened and held back by such an unfair taxation which would have made practically no difference in the State’s shortfall. About this, later.

    You were concerned about the already costly medical care our companions require and this added tax would have resulted in countless surrenders at the already burdened shelters, abandonment or allowing our friends to suffer, which for most owners is out of the question. The "give-ups" into shelters and pounds would have resulted in even more destruction of dogs, cats, birds and every other animal we would rather not live without.

    But there would have been another bad result if this tax had gone through. Farm animals and animals raised for our food also require medical services. Can we imagine the burden on their owners and raisers? And the possible threat to our own health as a result of reduced medical care for them?

    Other segments of the animal services that would have suffered are veterinarians, trainers, groomers, suppliers, sitters and walkers (all of whom are hard-working, tax-paying Californians), because with less companions and less income, the taxes they pay would also be less. Yes, we are all having a hard time right now, but come on! Why make it even harder?

    And finally, regarding the shortfall mentioned earlier: according to the experts, including the ones in Sacramento, about 600,000 companion animals are euthanized in California every year, at a cost of approximately $300 million (yes, folks, million) dollars a year. With even more pets given up because of this silly tax, more animals would have to be euthanized, at a higher cost which would have used up the veterinary tax. Consequently, very little would be left to offset the shortfall. The only result would have been that only the very rich could afford caring for their companions and the "others" would be penalized by depriving them of their family members, and forced to provide more pets for the killing rooms.

    WE WON! The telephone calls and faxes to Sacramento were going in so fast and in such volume that they had to set up several extension numbers to cope with them. This is real civic involvement and action.

    So the next time we are presented with some such unfair, pointless, counterproductive and silly endeavor our representatives try to bring about, let us all get in on the action and let them know that we will not tolerate waste, stupidity and unfair efforts on their part. It was just a fax, just a 'phone call -- but it made all the difference and will make all the difference if they try it again next year....or later this year.

    And to all those Solons in Sacramento who tried this: aren't you glad your pets are safe? I know we are glad that ours are safe as well!

    Ms. Yarden and welcome your comments in response to this perspective piece. Please include your name, your general part of town, and a telpehone number [not for publication] so we can reach you.

    Ms. Yarden's Archives:

  • Animals Are Not For Suffocating Or Burning

  • Ensuring Effective Dog License Canvassing in LB

  • Christmas With Your Companions

  • The Other Side of Farm Animal Cruelty

  • The Coyote: Truths & Myths

  • Katrina, Now Gustav...And Thank God! We Have Learned Something!

  • A Toy For Every Animal

  • Foiling Thieves Who'd Steal Your Dog

  • What To Do, And Not Do, If Your Cat Is Freaked Out By The Quake

  • Driving With Your Dog

  • On CSULB's Unwelcome Coyotes & Formerly Welcome Feral Felines

  • Not Merely Birth Control: The Other Side of Spay & Neuter

  • Return To Front Page

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