Friday, 8 May 2009

Government Benefit for pet owners?

Pictured above: Ivy, an abandoned dog helped by Pooch & Mutt and the Leicestershire RSPCA

The rise in the number of pets being abandoned due to the UK’s financial crisis brings me to raise the following question to Pooch and Mutt’s blog readers:

Should the government recognise and help dog owners financially by offering them with a pet owner’s benefit?

Last year the animal welfare charity dealt with 11,586 dumped animals, an average of more than 30 every day. And that figure represents just the pets illegally dumped, not those voluntarily taken to the RSPCA. This week RSPCA said there had been a 40 per cent increase in the number of animals left to fend for themselves across the South East. Other areas of the UK have equally felt the crunch coming down on them and their cherished pets.

Owning a dog is a lifetime commitment so it’s saddening to watch as more and more dogs are given the boot everyday because their owners cannot afford to dedicate time or money to look after them. I know that Milo would most certainly be the last thing on my list of cut backs if I were struggling financially.

I am of the opinion that becoming a dog owner is a lot like becoming a parent. You are responsible for that dog just as you are a child, its wellbeing and everything that comes with it depends on you. Like becoming a mum or a dad you pay for a dog’s food, check ups and entertainment. But we would never consider abandoning a child would we?

To stop so many dogs being abandoned the government could introduce a means-tested 'pet benefit' in the same way as they have Child Benefits, to enable people that have recently lost their jobs or are suffering to keep their pets. On the face of it this could be a frivolous way to spend tax payers money, but there are some real-world benefits. Below are 5 points for and against.

In favour;


  • If people can't afford to look after pets properly they shouldn't be allowed them.
  • Owning a dog is an expensive luxury and can cost time and money.
  • Cash is not an incentive for owning a pet, a person should want to own a dog for love not for money so this could encourage more irresponsible dog owners to buy a puppies.
  • Having a dog is a lifestyle choice and does not benefit society, whereas it's part of the human cycle to have children and make sure they are well fed and clothed.
  • If the government pays out a benefit for owning a dog more people will be encouraged to own one and thus create more unwanted dogs which need to be re-homed and cost animal shelters thousands of pounds every year.

We want to hear what you think about this so check out our quick online blog poll on the right hand side of this blog.

If you want to enter this month’s Pooch and Mutt prize draw click here.

1 comment:

Purely Pet Beds said...

It's funny. At first I thought this was silly. Then the more I started to compare it to child benefit, the more I realised it was pretty much the same. Unfortunately it didn't convince me that it was a good idea, just that we should scrap child benefit (even though I've got 3 kids).

It is entirely an individuals choice to purchase a dog and therefore their responsibility. I really can't see the government ever going for this - especially now that the country will be repaying debt for the rest of my natural life.