Most dog owners of a certain age can remember having to buy dog licences for each of their pets, or pay the ‘dog tax’ as it was also known. The original dog licence cost just 37p and was abolished way back in 1987, largely due to the fact that only around 50% of dog owners actually bought one.
However, in these days of financial hardship and tough talking budgets, the notion of taxing a whole new sector of society could prove too tempting to ignore. The dog licence could be about to return, and it won’t be the nominal 37p of the mid eighties either. Backed by the RSPCA, motions are underway to reintroduce a dog licence to the UK at a proposed cost of between £20 and £30 per year. The RSPCA believes that by introducing a dog licence it would help to raise over £100 million each year and would stop irresponsible dog owners from using their dogs as weapons of status.
The RSPCA has already conducted research into bringing back the dog licence and it claims that two thirds of dog owners are more than happy to pay a fee of over £30 per year for their dog… per dog! Although the RSPCA adds that this cost is roughly between 3% and 4% of the cost of owning a dog for a year, so doesn’t represent much of an expense.
The RSPCA added that if a dog licence were re-introduced at a cost of £21.50, and if only half of the dog owners in the UK paid for one, the licence would raise an additional £107.4 million that could be used to help the welfare of dogs. The RSPCA’s report suggests that a new scheme be started by the government that would help strays, disease prevention and treating people bitten by dogs. Dog control laws could also be enforced with the added funds created by a dog licence.
The UK has a reported 10 million dogs at present, and all would require licences under these new proposals.
The RSPCA also suggests that pensioners receive a discount on their dog licence, that discounts are offered for selected dogs (presumably smaller dogs) and discounts for dogs that have been neutered. Some of the money should also help pay for a nationwide database of dogs, with every dog being microchipped.
David Bowles, from the RSPCA, commented:
“A dog licence would raise money which could be targeted into improving enforcement of laws at a local level, improve the welfare of dogs and reverse the use of certain breeds of dog as a status symbol or weapon.”
“The dog licence would achieve three important goals. It would raise money for dog welfare, increase the numbers of responsible dog owners by getting people to think before they get a dog and start to reverse the surplus of dogs on the market by providing incentives such as reduced fees for neutering dogs.”
Of course the big worry is simple. If families are ordered to pay for a dog licence costing upwards of £30 per year, how many dogs would simply be cast out onto the street due to their owners being unwilling, or unable, to pay for the licence?
Would you be happy to pay for a dog licence for your dog?
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