Proposed Tax Breaks to Stimulate Shelter Adoptions

You can always count on California for innovative trends and now if one politician gets his way, the state will be the first in the country to give a tax break to people who help homeless animals. The premise is simple: adopt a shelter pet – get a tax deduction.


In an attempt to stimulate the economy with tax breaks and stimulate pet adoptions in overcrowded animal shelters, Assemblyman Cameron Smyth has introduced a bill that will give a tax deduction to anyone who rescues an orphaned animal from a government run shelter.


Assembly Bill 233 proposes a tax write-off of $100 for adoption fees.  The average pet adoption from a shelter in California costs between $100 and $150.00 


Assemblyman Cameron Smyth hopes the plan will help California’s suffering economy by cutting down on the expense to house and feed homeless animals and motivate people to seek out shelter pets.  Here is how the statistics stack up.


  •  California takes-in 800,000 homeless pets annually.
  •  The state pays out $250 million to care for the animals.
  •  The proposed tax deduction would cost the state $1 million which would enable the program to pay for itself after the first 800 adoptions.


Bill 233 was offered as an alternative to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s earlier proposal to add a tax for pet owners. The so-called “luxury tax” attempted to place a 9% tax for services such as veterinary care. 


Even though Bill 233 is creative and “thinks out of the box” critics question whether it will actually increase pet adoption from shelters.  California income tax ranges from 1 to 10.3% and writing-off the suggested $100 would amount to a maximum tax break of only $10.30.  That doesn’t cover much of the expense of owning a cat or dog.


Bill 233 is supported by California animal welfare and rescue organizations and Assemblyman Smyth appears to be genuine and knowledgeable about animal rescue.  In one interview with a local TV news station he brought along two shelter pets and discussed his role in organizing an adopt-a-thon around the Capitol buildings in Sacramento.    



Robin Chisholm
robin chisholm8 years ago

Hey here in Louisiana it would be great! We have a lot of animals that need to be adopted.Could someone make up a petition up for me to send to Govenor Bobby Jindal? I don't yet know how to do it.
I just love this idea. Please help me

Esther John
Esther John8 years ago

I Know many poor people who would love a pet but can not afford the fee to buy one from an animal shelter.they would gladly share there food with something to love. Esther

Evelyn S.

I think it's a good idea. And more taxbreaks if the pets are spayed and neutered. That's the real problem. People not bothering to "fix" their critters. And not realizing that taking on a pet is like having a child. A long-term project. Not something you do until it's not a cute "baby" anymore and then dumping on the rest of us. Or the overburdened shelters. Something has to be done. And legislation to make spaying/neutering mandatory is a real must. Unless someone is a qualified, registered breeder,no one needs to have unfixed pets.

Brenda B.
Brenda B8 years ago

I think it's a geat idea, but we need to get people to stop giving up their pets in the first place. An aggressive spay/neuter policy should be mandatory like here in RI. When animals become a rare commodity because the numbers have dwindled, then people will place agreater value on them. Please sign my petition to end the Alaska wolf slaughter at

Carol H.
Past Member 8 years ago

I think that is grreat idea but I only see one thing wrong with it and maybe this thought is over the top but here I go.

I hope that if this was to come that people won't adobt just because of the tax break and not because they love animals.

As you can see I took the words right out of Samantha's mouth I didn't see what she
had said I promice but that is my concern as well.

Another thing I just thought of if this happens I hope they don't give this tax break according to the size of the animal because that would be a huge mistake.

If this goes through all of the animals that are adopted under this plan had better be watched to make sure they are well taken care of and not abused.

Soodle B.
MeowFoul B8 years ago

yes Songbird B that is a very good idea, that sholud be a must for radio staions and tv channels. i think the adoption of animals in shelters would go up big time if this was done.

Songbird B.
.8 years ago

Here where I live every day on tv 5 they have a dog or cat for adoptio and they tell you where this one is ready for a home and many other's. I think all TV stations should do this. I say high 5's for wral tv 5 in the heart of Carolina

Elena Glikina
Elena Glikina8 years ago

I think it's a very good idea. I can only envy my foreign friends that they have so many posibilities to help the animals. I live in Ukraine.It's a very hard country. But I try even here to help the animals. And there many good people here. I hope they will join us.

Marlene V.
marlene v8 years ago

i think this is a good idea ..
California takes-in 800,000 homeless pets annually now.
The state pays out $250 million to care for the animals.
The proposed tax deduction would cost the state $1 million which would enable the program to pay for itself after the first 800 adoptions.
People are dumping their pets as they lose their homes, something must be done for these helpless pets.

Kristina S.
Past Member 8 years ago

I think this is a very BAD idea. People who shouldn't have pets are going to start adopting them just for the tax breaks and then neglect them b/c they were not wanted for the RIGHT reasons in the first place.

This bill would essentially cause more animal suffering than we already have.