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NY State Considering New Law Awarding Up To $125 Tax Credit For Adopting An Animal

Amy Pilkington 5 Feb 2020

When it comes to where a person goes to find a pet, people have a lot of opinions, especially in regards to purchasing a pet vs adopting.

While some people may push the "adopt, don't shop" mentality a little too strongly for my taste — all animals deserve loving homes, regardless of the motives of the breeder — getting more people to adopt rescued dogs and cats is a net positive. Fewer potential customers for backyard breeders or puppy mills will disincentivize the practice.

According to the ASPCA, about 6.5 million companion animals enter US shelters every year.

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Even worse, approximately 1.5 million of those animals will be euthanized.

Yet so many people want to bring a cat or dog into their homes, but choose not to due to the adopotion fees.

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A new bill proposed in the New York State Assembly, and another in the state Senate, propose to lessen the financial burden.

Unsplash | Thomas Park

If passed, state residents who adopt a dog or cat from an accredited shelter or rescue organization will be eligible for a tax credit.

The amount of the credit differs between the two bills. The Assembly's version proposes a credit for the cost of the adoption fee or a maximum of $125, whichever is less. It doesn't specify a maximum number of adoptions per tax year.

The Senate's version is a flat credit of $100 for up to three cats or dogs adopted in a tax year.

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Either bill, if passed into law, is meant to help lessen the cost of adoption for state residents without taking much needed funds away from the shelters themselves.

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Depending on the organization, things like shelter, food, and veterinary services may be funded all or in part by adoption fees and outside donations.

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That makes it difficult for shelters to simply do away with the fees, even though waiving them increases adoptions.

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Trials done by the ASPCA and other shelters around the country have proven that "empty the shelter" fee-free promotions and similar events result in more potential families coming to the shelter and more adoptions overall.

Additionally, the belief that adoption fees result in "better quality" homes for the animals has been proven false.

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Both bills are currently in committee.

Unsplash | Oleg Ivanov

Since each branch has one, it seems pretty likely that there will be plenty of support for the idea, and if it becomes law, New York State will be the first state to create such an incentive program.

Hopefully, they won't be the last.

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