To the editor:

The veterinarian community is extremely concerned about Georgia House Bills 385-388, which targets pets and would cause pet owners to have to pay an 8 percent tax on medical services for their pets.

In the current economy, owners already have to make difficult choices about medical care for their pets. An increase to 8 percent (4 percent state tax and 4 percent to 5 percent county tax) would cause pet owners to have to choose between life-saving medical procedures or putting their animal to sleep or turning them over to a shelter.

We have so many suffering animals with diseases that we cannot medically cure, that we as veterinarians are deeply saddened that this tax will force many animals with curable diseases to be euthanized for economic reasons.

Last year, in the five counties surrounding metro Atlanta, there were 30,000 dogs and cats euthanized. A tax on veterinary services would dramatically increase this number. Shelters are at capacity and those facing budget cuts cannot absorb the extra animals that would arrive at their doorstep because of this pet tax.

Rescue groups, which provide a wonderful service of finding homes for many unwanted animals, would also be subject to this tax because they pay for medical services for the animals they rescue. Many rescues do wonderful work with limited funds and this tax would severely affect the number of animals they can save.

I feel confident, that as our legislators consider the repercussions of this pet tax, they will reconsider imposing a tax on the medical services of animals.

M. Duffy Jones – Member, Georgia Veterinary Medical Association