An interesting article caught my attention the other day. The story was really about tax reform from a certain political point of view told in a humorous way with pet owners as the backdrop of the idea. This column is not about the economic or political merits of the story, but rather a discussion of the points relative to dog and pet ownership in America.
The story floats the idea of Congress offering a Canine Tax Credit of $500 per dog similar to the Child Tax Credit that has been offered since 1997. The author does point out that, “No doubt a child’s life is…more precious than a dog’s, but a puppy’s owner deserves economic security as much as a human parent.” The article continues by pointing out the love many Americans and couples have for their pets, especially among millennials in which as many as 44% view ownership of a dog or puppy as practice for human children.
According to the American Pet Products Association, approximately 90 million dogs live in the United States today, spread over about 60 million households. Millions more live in shelters waiting for a forever home. According to Mintel Global Market Research, two-thirds of pet owners consider their companion animals “part of the family.” Additionally, Americans spent nearly $67 billion dollars on their pets in 2016.
The story continues by pointing out reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the fact that pets can help decrease blood pressure, cholesterol and feelings of loneliness. Finally, it makes mention of the fact that the idea put forth by this proposal does not include the millions of other species Americans own as pets including cats, ferrets, turtles, rabbits, lizards and tarantulas.
Perhaps such a concept is silly. Perhaps it is not. Regardless, such notions are interesting to entertain when one considers the shear number of pets in the United States fomenting an industry so monetarily substantial.
This article was adapted from a story in The Wall Street Journal by Adam O’Neal titled “What Will Tax Reform Do for Puppies?”