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UK dog owners may have to pay to own a pooch under controversial new tax scheme

Owners may have to pay a tax on their pets © Pixabay

Dog lovers could be forced to pay a £100 yearly charge after the government announced it's considering a new pooch-tax to encourage responsible pet ownership.

By Ashley Murphy, 4 Nov 2019

Last year Environment Minister Zak Goldsmith commissioned academics from Middlesex University to come up with new ways to encourage people to take better care of their pets.

Taking the lead from other countries

The study will continue until next year but has already made a few suggestions based on dog controls in other Europen countries.

Some towns and cities in the Netherlands already have a dog tax. A similar programme here in the UK would work out at around £100 a year or roughly 37p a day.

The government believes a dog tax would make people think twice before adopting a pooch and incentivise current owners to be more responsible for their pets.

Any tax revenue could go towards helping dogs in need and educating owners. Dr Samantha Gaines is an animal expert who works for the RSPCA. She said:

"A licensing scheme has the potential to generate money that could be used to improve dog welfare and tackle issues around dog ownership."

However, not everyone is a fan of the proposed scheme. Ed Hayes is the public affairs manager for the Kennel Club. He believes:

"More needs to be done to tackle irresponsible dog ownership, but ...dog licensing is a flawed model...Any annual dog tax would only impact and penalise the reasonable owner, while the irresponsible continue to flout the law."

How much would you pay for a pooch?

But what does the pooch-loving British public think about a dog-tax?

Well, if past attempts at introducing a new tax are anything to go by, then the answer is not much! Mandatory dog licensing laws came into force during the mid-80s but were scrapped just a few years later after they were largely ignored.