Good News for Pet Lovers: New Law Will Potentially Give People Who Adopt Dogs from Shelters $125 Tax Credit

Good News for Pet Lovers: New Law Will Potentially Give People Who Adopt Dogs from Shelters $125 Tax Credit

Lots of people would love to adopt a pet. Adopting a rescue pet is perhaps the kindest thing you can do for an animal. Giving them a loving home and taking good care of all their needs is especially important. 

Unfortunately, not everyone can sustain them because pets can be quite expensive to take care of. However, there is a new law that could potentially help you with getting enough money to take care of your beloved pet. 

New law that could potentially give tax credit to people who adopt dogs 

This is more than an incentive for people who want to adopt pets. It’s the government’s way of giving back to the good people who adopt, and also a way of ensuring that the pet is not too much of a burden. It also helps to make people adopt from shelters instead of illegal animal breeders. 

The credit would give pet owners who adopt from a shelter up to $125 for each pet they adopt. The bill covers just domestic animals such as dogs and cats for now. [1]

The law is under consideration in New York City so they would be the first state to pass such an incredible law if all goes well. Nonetheless, there are still a lot of details to be ironed out. For instance, it’s not clear whether the bill would also give tax credits to rescue organizations and if people who already have adopted pets would receive credits. Still, it is a step in the right direction. 

Will giving a tax credit be beneficial in the long run?

It sure does seem that way going by all the positive feedback people have on the matter. Also, similar acts that have been done previously show that this new law will be a huge success. 

For instance, a shelter in Minneapolis once waived adoption fees for all pets — dogs, cats, and birds — for one day in November. They did this to get all animals adopted before Thanksgiving. The ‘Clear the Shelter’ movement worked and all the animals were adopted. This goes to show that the adoption fees, which usually range from $10 to $1000 for Minneapolis residents, was a barrier to them getting adopted. [2]

Another state that wants to implement this law 

Oregon lawmaker, Alan Olsen, a loving dog owner, is fighting to pass a bill that would be beneficial to both pets and their owners. The bill, which would help with adoption fees, vaccinations, and spaying, among other expenses, would allow the individual to subtract up to $200 per year from their taxable income. 

It could also allow for a subtraction of up to $400 for joint filers who adopt two animals.

According to Olsen, “It’s terrible to see the number of animals that are euthanized every day.” He also claims that the bill would work through a positive feedback mechanism as the credits would essentially “pay for itself.” This is because it would help stimulate local economies. 

Dogs and cats, once they’re taken out of the shelter, they need veterinarians, toys, treats, food. PetSmart wouldn’t exist without pets,” he said. [3]

While we await the results of the decision-makers on the matter, pets that are considered a personal expense are still taking up a lot of money. So, until the IRS lets you claim your Chihuahua as your first child, here are pet related tax deductions you may be eligible for:

1.Moving your dog 

This is possible if you move them during the tax year. So, if moving your dogs require some special expenses, they are considered different from your personal effects and thus, it would be possible for you to deduct your moving expenses from tax. 

2. Service dogs 

You can include medical expenses, cost of buying, training, as well as maintaining a service dog that assists disabled people, according to IRS publication 502. All you need to do is make sure you have up-to-date medical records to back you up. And you also declare it is a service animal by registering it with an agency. [4]

3. Guard dogs 

These are legitimate right off, at least according to tax expert, Cliff Ennico. You cannot, however, claim your poodle is a guard dog; it has to be a certified guard dog from a breed that is traditionally considered one such as Rottweilers, German shepherds, or Doberman pinschers. If the guard dog is for your business, you can get tax deductions on dog food, vet fees, training, and other expenses related to the dog. 

4. Dog breeders 

This can only work when it is a legitimate and registered breeding business, not a hobby. After all, the dog breeder has a business and just like any other business owner is eligible to deductions on his/her tax-related expenses, such as dog food, vets bills, rent, and advertising. [5] 

5. Donations to dog charities 

If you offer donations in the form of money or property to a tax-exempt dog shelter or charity, you could deduct that amount as a charitable deduction or itemize it. The charity has to be a 501(c) (3) charity, one that has attained tax-exempt status from the IRS. 

These types of organizations have ID numbers given to them by the IRS that would ensure they don’t have to pay sales taxes on supplies. They often give these numbers to their volunteers to buy supplies for their animals. Therefore, you could get the amount of money you donate back or get the monetary value of property that you donate. 

Other things you could deduct are unreimbursed expenses you made with your money while volunteering for a dog shelter such as parking fees, tolls, and gas.

You will, however, not be able to deduct adoption fees, value of time spent with them, or value of space you provided in your home for them. 

However, if you are rescuing animals without being affiliated with a 501(c) (3) organization, then your expenses are not tax-deductible. [6]

When people think about adopting dogs, all they do is scroll through the shelter’s website ‘awwing’ at dogs with their big brown eyes. Then they look at the adoption fees and mutter, “not bad” to themselves. If only they knew that adopting a dog goes beyond paying the adoption fees, they would probably think twice about adopting one even if the adoption fees are waived for them. 

That being said, what expenses do you have to make to adopt and take care of a dog? 

1.Adoption fee 

It is important to mention this because it is still the first expense you make when it comes to adopting a dog. This could be anywhere from free or a few dollars, to several hundred dollars, depending on your location and whether or not you are adopting the dog from a different state. 

2. Feeding 

Dog food doesn’t come cheap. You cannot feed them scraps from the dinner table forever. You need to invest in good dog food that has all the supplements a dog requires to be healthy. 

3. Supplies 

This includes treats, toys, beds, bowls, leashes, harnesses, collars, and ID tags. All these are necessary to make your dog as safe and comfortable as possible. 

4. Dog training 

Don’t think you can just wing this. Looking up how to train a dog on YouTube is not the same thing as paying for official dog training sessions, and the results are very different. Official lessons can cost between $100 and $300 for a six-week class. 

5. Vet bills 

According to Jordan Holliday, Brand Marketing Specialist with Embrace Pet Insurance, “The first thing that new pet parents should do when they adopt a new dog is to schedule a trip to the veterinarian to ensure their new pet is healthy. Their first vet visit may be up to $300 if the new pup needs ‘the works.'” 

Pet parents that have adopted a puppy can plan on visiting the vet every few weeks until the puppy is about 16 weeks of age, which can add up quickly, and these are just the initial costs. The first year of dog ownership can be $1,000 or more, depending on the dog’s specific needs and size,” he added. 

Therefore, you have to plan for unexpected visits to the vet for various injuries. 

6. Dog walking/dogs sitting 

If you have a job where you won’t have time to walk your dog every morning, paying a dog walker to help out is a good investment, but it does cost money. Also, getting a dog sitter for when you travel is a good idea. 

Ways you could cut down on the expenses

  • You could cut back on some of your other expenses to create room for your new pet. 
  • You could also check to see if you qualify for a Care Credit Card, a credit card designed to cover routine and emergency veterinary procedures. 
  • Another great way to cut costs is to watch out for sales online or at your local pet supplies store. That way you could get great discounts on supplies and food. [7]

At the end of the day, financial constraints are a huge issue for people who want to adopt pets. A law that would ensure people get paid to do so would go a long way in improving the standard of living of these beloved pets. 

Hopefully, it sticks and everything works out for the best. 

Cheers to you and your furry little companions.


  1. New law may give tax credit to those who adopt pets.Rochester First. Staff. December 3, 2019.
  2. New Law Gives $125 Tax Credit To People Who Adopt Rescue Pets Instead Of Shop.” Scary Mommy. Julie Scagell. December 13, 2019.
  3. Oregon lawmaker wants tax deduction for those who adopt shelter cats, dogs.Statesman Journal. Tracy Loew. February 21, 2019.
  4. New law may give tax credit to those who adopt pets.” Local SYR. Staff. December 3, 2019.
  5. Is Your Dog Tax Deductible?Nolo. Stephen Fishman. Accessed January 31, 2020. 
  6. Are Animal Fostering and Rescue Expenses Tax-Deductible?Thought Co. Doris Lin. March 26, 2019.
  7. Adoption fees. Animal Humane Society. December 18, 2018.