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Adopt a pet, get a tax break in Maryland

Monday - 2/17/2014, 8:38pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Two Maryland lawmakers think you - and your future pet - deserve a tax break.

Under House Bill 1358, you could get a one-time tax break of $100 for adopting a pet from a shelter or a rescue organization.

Maryland Delegate Glenn Glass came up with the idea. "I think that this bill would incentivize people to adopt," he says.

Glass adopted a cat from a shelter, and his House colleague, Delegate Michael Hough is a fan of shelter dogs. Hough is helping Glass shepherd the legislation through the General Assembly.

Hough explains he got his family's beagle, Scout, at a shelter 10 years ago. The pup was a first-anniversary present to his wife.

"We've got three kids now, and he's been there the whole way ... we love him."

Glass says he's concerned about all pets in shelters, but he's especially hopeful that pit bulls might benefit if the tax-break legislation passes. Glass says ever since a case in which Maryland's Court of Appeals ruled that pit bulls were "inherently dangerous," the dogs' adoptions chances were reduced.

"It's not fair that they were singled out - they need homes too."

Glass came up with another tax incentive for very special pets and their owners: Under House Bill 1357, anyone - police or civilian - who adopts a retired police K-9 would get a $1,000 dollar tax break to cover the cost of veterinary bills. That tax break would be good for the life of the dog.

Glass says he's been told that the working dogs may need more vet care as they age. In his words, all pets "give more than they get," and he says giving a tax break in the case of service animals is the right thing to do.

"We can give tax credits to big businesses. Well, if we can do that, why can't we give tax credits to police officers who adopt one of their police dogs?"

WTOP's Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

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