SF SPCA Protests Governor's Proposed Veterinary Services Sales Tax


San Francisco, Dec 8 2008: The San Francisco SPCA today protested Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed sales tax on veterinary services. The sales tax, if approved, could add a hefty ten percent to each veterinary bill. The tax is part of a larger combination of program cuts and revenue increases to balance the state budget.

"This suggested tax could have calamitous consequences for animals in California, and for their human guardians," said SF/SPCA President Jan McHugh-Smith. "Veterinary services are already an expensive proposition for pet guardians, many of whom are facing financial hardship in these difficult economic times. We are concerned that, if a veterinary sales tax is levied, medical treatment for companion animals will become a luxury, available to a few, but beyond the reach of many. In this situation, large numbers of animals will not receive the lifesaving medical treatment and care they need, and we could see a rise in companion animal deaths."

The San Francisco SPCA is already seeing the fallout from the national housing crisis and economic downturn. A number of cats and dogs have come to the organization because their guardians have lost their homes and/or can no longer afford to keep them. "This is a heartbreaking situation," McHugh-Smith continued, "and one that will only become more critical if the cost of veterinary care escalates."

The SF/SPCA provides approximately $1.5 million each year in charitable veterinary services to the animal companions of eligible San Francisco residents – seniors, low-income individuals, and the homeless – as well as to the thousands of homeless animals who arrive at The SF/SPCA shelter. However, the number of shelters that are in a position to provide such assistance are few, and in an economic crisis even The San Francisco SPCA may not be able to avoid financial constraints, McHugh-Smith warned.

McHugh-Smith is urging the Governor to reconsider his proposed plan to place a sales tax on veterinary services. "Animal health, like human health, should not be a taxable commodity," she said. The SF/SPCA is urging its members to contact the Governor and their elected officials to protest the proposed tax.

About the San Francisco SPCA

The San Francisco SPCA is a community-supported, non-profit animal welfare organization dedicated to saving, protecting and providing immediate care for cats and dogs who are homeless, ill or in need of an advocate. The SF SPCA also works long-term to educate the community, reduce the number of unwanted kittens and puppies through spaying and neutering, and improve the quality of life for animals and their human companions.

Support the San Francisco SPCA by adopting, donating, volunteering and becoming a client of the state-of-the-art SF SPCA Veterinary Hospital at the Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center. SF SPCA has San Francisco volunteer opportunities to care for shelter dogs and cats, conduct adoption counseling, assist clients and veterinary staff at the Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center, provide foster care, help with the Community Cats Program, and enrich the lives of people in the community through animal-assisted therapy.

For more information about San Francisco pet adoption, call the San Francisco SPCA at (415) 522-3500 or visit

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