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URGENT CALL TO ACTION -- from Judy Parisi, Editor-in-Chief:  I have seen many blogs and forums on the internet ridiculing Congressman McCotter for introducing this bill to help pet guardians.  I promised Rep. McCotter that I would do everything I could to help support this bill.  While thankful, he said it will be a "steeply uphill battle."  Please join me in this battle, as well as the more than 29,000 others who have signed the petition and told our representatives that we support Congressman McCotter and want them to pass this very important bill.  CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO YOUR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE.

ABOUT THE BILL:  Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-Michigan) has introduced H.R. 3501, referred to as the "Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act" which would allow pet owners to take a tax deduction of up to $3,500  yearly for qualified pet care expenses.

Qualified Pet Care Expenses are defined as "amounts paid in connection with providing care (including veterinary care) for a qualified pet other than any expense in connection with the acquisition of the qualified pet."  The term "Qualified Pet" is further defined as "a legally owned, domesticated, live animal."

The bill notes that excluded from deductions are "animals used for research or owned/utilized in conjunction with a trade or business."  Also exempt are people who deducted expenses under IRS sections 162 (ordinary and necessary expenses) and 213 (diagnostic and similar procedures, medical devices and other medical expenses not covered by insurance). 

The bill was introduced on July 31 and was drafted in conjunction with data from the American Pet Products Association's National Pet Owners Survey.  It has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) issued a Pet Alert supporting the proposal.

"Providing pet owners the opportunity to deduct pet care expenses is an important step towards ensuring that pet owners provide adequate veterinary and other necessary pet care," PIJAC stated.  "It encourages responsible pet ownership and will hopefully reduce the abandonment of pets by people struggling as a result of the economic downturn."

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