Proposed tax on veterinary services will result in fewer animals helped
Dear U.S. Representative Westmoreland,
My name is Shannen Chabot and I am a 12th-grader from McIntosh High School. More importantly, I’m of voting age and I’m one of your constituents. As a pet owner and a veterinary technician, I am writing to express my concern regarding House Bill 385, the proposed pet tax.
First, no other professionals are being targeted by this legislation. No healthcare professionals, who are also service providers, are finding their practices threatened.
Medical services have long been exempt from taxation at the state and federal level. Veterinarians are subject to many of the same laws and regulations as their physician counterparts. Could you imagine the public outrage if this same proposal were extended to human medical services?
Taxing veterinary services has been proposed by several states in the past few years (CA, ME, MI, PA), and this was rejected by legislators as contrary to the best interests of citizens of those states. We need to do the same in Georgia; we need to see that this is contrary to our best interests.
In the current economy, animal owners must make difficult decisions regarding the welfare of their pets and/or horses. Adding sales tax to veterinary services may force owners to forego life-saving procedures and opt for economic euthanasia. You must not allow this possibility to occur.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, nearly two out of every three households have a pet, and a majority of pet owners have more than one. Perhaps you and your family have a pet? A tax on veterinary services could have a substantial financial impact on responsible veterinary care of pets.
Furthermore, I submit that should this bill pass, the public health and safety will be at risk. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than 80 percent of diseases in humans originate in animals. Studies show that veterinarians are most likely to identify these zoonotic diseases.
A recent nationwide study by Bayer Animal Health showed that routine veterinary checkups have declined in the past years due to the economy. Increased expenses will intensify this trend, causing pet owners to forego veterinary care. Pet abandonment will increase, and many pets will be euthanized.
Pets are often abandoned to shelters when owners can no longer afford their care. Animal shelter populations are increasing beyond capacity, yet counties are cutting budgets. In the past two years, the number of cats and dogs euthanized at animal shelters in the five core metro counties has risen 24 percent. Almost 30,000 cats and dogs were euthanized in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties alone last year. Rescue groups that relocate animals as alternatives to shelters and euthanasia would also be affected.
If you are a pet owner or have ever been a pet owner, you should oppose any effort to impose a tax on veterinary services.
Thank you for your consideration of these concerns and I look forward to your response.
Peachtree City, Ga.