Relieving our overcrowded animal shelters


Story By Marc Steinorth | The San Bernardino Sun

Californians love their pets and rightfully so. The companionship an owner receives from their pet builds a strong emotional bond for life as a dog or cat is often considered a member of the family. Unfortunately not every pet can find a good home and realize these opportunities. The Humane Society estimates that 2.7 million cats and dogs are euthanized every year in the United States. In 2013, 54 percent of cats and 30 percent of dogs in shelter care were ultimately euthanized.

This year I introduced a bill in the state Legislature that will help California take a small step toward a broader solution of finding every pet a home. Nationwide, 3-4 million dogs and cats are rescued every year from animal shelters. But this can be expensive, particularly with the veterinarian costs that must be paid in addition to adoption fees when bringing home a new pet. All combined, costs can often be several hundred dollars which could pose a burden to many potential owners. To provide some financial relief for these high costs, I proposed Assembly Bill 976 which will give up to a $100 tax deduction for fees paid to adopt an animal from a nonprofit or municipal shelter.

While this amount of tax relief may be small, it sends an important message about the need to rescue animals in need of a good home. The tax code is often used to encourage positive actions for society. For example, we incentivize home ownership because it builds strong communities with residents who are invested in their neighborhood’s future. California should implement similar ideas to encourage pet adoptions.

On the financial side of the equation, an estimated quarter of a billion dollars is spent annually by local governments and nonprofit shelters to support animal shelter services across the country. In California, taxpayers are contributing $120 million to service the needs of animal populations awaiting adoption. Any financial tool to help relieve the pressures on overcrowded shelters will not only help pets find homes, but it will also free up funds for other critical local government needs, like police and fire protection. Providing a tax incentive is a modest investment that results in a much larger return for taxpayers in the long run.

A tax deduction puts the power in the hands of taxpayers to save animal lives and local tax dollars. Further, the long-term benefits of pet ownership are extremely rewarding and we should make sure that Californians have the opportunity to adopt a pet of their own. That can start by providing small tax incentives like the one proposed in Assembly Bill 976.

To help bring awareness and support for this measure, I am hosting a pet adoption drive at the Rancho Cucamonga Animal Shelter (11780 Arrow Route, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730) from April 17-19, where I will pay for the first 100 pet adoptions. After the first 100 free pet adoptions, every pet adopted in those three days from the shelter will be discounted. I hope you take advantage of this opportunity and help find these shelter pets a home. If you have any questions, please contact my district office at 909-466-9096.

Read the original article at The San Bernardino Sun

Story By Marc Steinorth | The San Bernardino Sun
Assemblyman Marc Steinorth, R-Rancho Cucamonga, represents the 40th District.

Posted in:

Leave a Reply