Dog Tax

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What happened to the so-called "Dog Tax"?

Early in March, the Government proposed making third party pet insurance a legal requirement for dog owners in case of attacks. Not long after the idea was proposed it was dropped, but why did it vanish so quickly?

There are, in fact, a number of reasons why. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn was quoted as saying "We don't want to penalise the vast majority of responsible dog owners because they're just as concerned as everybody else about that small minority who mistreat dogs, get them involved in dog fighting or use dogs as weapons", although it is thought that the fact that insurers branded the plan unworkable, and the proposal was also the subject of a Conservative election campaign poster which branded the idea a ‘dog tax’.

The proposal was suggested as a result of people being injured by uninsured dogs, and would mean that all dogs would have to, at the very least, be covered against damage done to a third party. However, two weeks after it was first raised, the idea was scrapped after attracting criticism.

The Conservative party were quick to brand the move a ‘dog tax’, which in the lead up to an election would likely lose Labour favour with voters, and it was generally considered that those that it was most likely to affect (i.e. those who knowingly keep vicious dogs as a method of attack) were also most likely to not take out pet insurance due to a general disregard for the law, while forcing responsible owners into taking out a pet insurance policy they do not necessarily need..

The paper also suggested antisocial behaviour orders (Nicknamed ‘Dogbos’) for irresponsible owners. Nick Starling, on behalf of the Association of British Insurers, said "Compulsory insurance is always difficult to enforce. The very people that the Government is targeting - those who mistreat their dogs or use them as weapons - are the same people who would not buy cover if it was available."

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