Pet tax mooted in wake of rabies outbreak

Pet tax mooted in wake of rabies outbreak

Strays gather round a monk at Wat Kroen in Pathum Thani’s Muang district. The spread of rabies has led the temple to ask officials to vaccinate the dogs urgently. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
Strays gather round a monk at Wat Kroen in Pathum Thani’s Muang district. The spread of rabies has led the temple to ask officials to vaccinate the dogs urgently. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang said Monday he agreed with the idea of collecting taxes from pet owners.

"How to collect the taxes, the procedures and regulations must be clear. The Department of Livestock Development will provide a model, then City Hall will follow," he said.

While Finance Ministry spokesperson Kulaya Tantitemit said the ministry had not discussed the issue, permanent secretary of the Public Health Ministry Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk said he had floated the idea of collecting taxes from the owners of cats and dogs as a way to help control disease epidemics, such as the recent spate of rabies cases.

The Department of Livestock Development's director-general Apai Suttisunkwas  said he supported the idea but did not think it could happen soon as it would a complicated process and local administrative organisations would have to take part.

Meanwhile, the Department of Disease Control on Monday confirmed a 14-year-old girl in Buri Ram had died from rabies, making her the sixth fatality from the disease in Thailand this year.

The Bangkok governor said rabies vaccine was being administered and 30,000 microchips have been implanted into dogs in Bangkok. He added that over 250,000 doses of the vaccine remain in stock.

Roger Lohanan, founder and CEO of the Thai Animal Guardians Association, said he agreed with the idea in principle.

"Many countries, especially in Europe, used to do so. If they [authorities] collect taxes, it must be systematic and the process must be well contemplated. If that is the case, it may prevent people from abandoning their pets or adopting more pets than they can afford to look after," he said.

However, he added that pet registration might be more effective than taxation, and that the National Legislative Assembly is working on a legal amendment to require pet registration.

Meanwhile, Dayin Petcharat, founder of SOS Animals Thailand, suggested that tax deductions could be offered as incentives for pet owners who take good care of their pets.


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