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February 10, 2012

Non-profit rescue groups forced to pay punishing tax for each dog or cat adopted

ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society

The Humane
Society of the United States, the ASPCA® (The American Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), Best Friends Animal Society
and other animal welfare organizations commend State Rep. Jeanne Kirkton,
D-Webster Groves, and 39 cosponsors for introducing legislation, H.B. 1654, to
repeal a burdensome state tax on nonprofit animal shelters and rescue groups. 

The tax,
from which shelters and rescues were exempt prior to 2010, requires animal
shelters to pay the state the same fees and taxes as for-profit, large-scale
commercial breeding facilities. The punitive tax includes a per-animal fee that
shelters must pay for every dog or cat adopted out, costing already
cash-strapped animal shelters up to $2,500 per year. 

exemption that previously existed for shelters and rescues was quietly removed
by the legislature in a bill about explosives in 2010 in retaliation for the
Prop B campaign – the citizen initiative that was designed to establish humane
standards for dogs living in puppy mills in Missouri. H.B. 1654 would restore
this long-standing exemption to nonprofit animal shelters and rescue groups, which
are providing a public service to communities at their own expense and are not
engaged in commercial activity. A copy of the bill can be found

along with Stray Rescue of St. Louis, Mo., and Dogwood Animal Shelter in Osage
Beach, filed a constitutional challenge in Cole County in late 2011 to overturn
the removal of the tax exemption.  A hearing is scheduled on the
litigation on February 23. The filing of H.B. 1654 by Rep. Kirkton is another
important step in the effort to give animal shelters and rescue groups a
reprieve from this unreasonable state tax.

Quotes from
animal welfare organizations that support H.B. 1654:

  • “Local
    animal shelters and rescue groups are providing a public service to
    Missouri communities, and are often cleaning up the mess caused by the
    state’s large-scale commercial dog breeders. They should not be punished
    by state lawmakers for doing critical animal welfare work, and the
    legislature must pass H.B. 1654 and reverse this punitive tax.” – Anne
    Sterling, Midwest regional director of The Humane Society of the United
  •  “This
    tax has the potential to cripple already cash-strapped shelters and rescue
    groups, especially during this difficult economy when struggling families
    are relinquishing more dogs and cats to shelters and municipal governments
    are cutting local services, forcing private humane organizations to carry
    more of the burden. We hope that the Missouri legislature will recognize
    the need to embrace H.B.1654 and act quickly in correcting this assault on
    animal shelters, which serve as the best chance these animals have at
    finding a home.” – Cori Menkin, senior director of the ASPCA Puppy Mills
  • “Shelters
    are already having a very difficult time making ends meet in this economic
    climate. Every dollar that the state takes from them is one fewer dollar
    they have to spend on the critical care of these abused and abandoned
    animals.” – Elizabeth Oreck, Best Friends Animal Society
  •  “Stray
    Rescue of St. Louis is struggling to meet the daily needs of our
    community’s homeless animals and we should not be forced to pay the same
    fees as people who are breeding dogs purely for profit and who are direct
    contributors to this epidemic problem we deal with on a daily
    basis.”  – Randy Grim, Stray Rescue of St. Louis
  • “We
    are performing a service to the community that is not provided by the
    city, county or state. Our shelter runs strictly on our thrift shop,
    donations and fund raisers. We work very hard to bring in barely enough
    money to get by day to day. This annual fee is a burden on everyone out
    here trying to do the right thing for the animals, and the ones that are affected by this fee the most are the animals.” – Ronnie Jacobsen,
    Dogwood Animal Shelter in Osage Beach



HSUS: Jordan Crump, 301-548-7793, [email protected]

Rebecca Goldrick: 646-291-4582, [email protected]

Friends: Temma Martin, 801-953-8876, [email protected]

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Article source: HSUS

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