Pet adoption tax credit comes within one vote of House passage

Legislation to create the first-in-the-nation tax credit for adopting a shelter pet came within a hair’s breadth of passing the Pennsylvania state House on Tuesday.

The bill, offered as an amendment to tax code legislation by Rep. Jesse White (D., Allegheny), was narrowly defeated 97-96.

The legislation would give individuals or families who adopt a pet from a recognized shelter a $300 tax credit.

“The point was to encourage adoption and discourage puppy mills and also ease the burden on shelters,” said White, who has two dogs and a cat and was looking for animal-friendly legislation to sponsor.

The bill (HB 1765) comes at a time when state support for shelters is fast disappearing. Shelter grants have been cut in half and the Department of Agriculture says it is looking at eliminating the grants entirely. At the same time the state reduced the amount it is providing shelters for every stray dog it takes in from $30 to $25 – not even enough to provide minimal vet care for an incoming animal.

White said he attached his bill as an amendment to another bill being considered on the House floor Tuesday because he says Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, chairman of the House Finance Committee where his bill was assigned, has shown no willingness to move it through the committee.

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