Dog Finances: Hidden Costs Of Owning A Dog


Doggone Fido Fees

A Lighthearted Look at How All Dogs Go to Heaven, but All Taxes Go to the Government

The Yankee Institute for Public Policy released its latest study, “Doggone Fido Fees” recently. A dog’s life in Connecticut may be cheap, but it’s not free. Towns charge owners a dog license fee that is set by the state, which then shares in the revenue collected. The Yankee Institute tabulated how much each town collects in these “Fido fees,” along with other dog-related income, and dug up some bones for fiscal year 2008.

The highlights include:

• State and local governments collected nearly $2.5 million in dog-related licensing and fees in fiscal 2008.

• A dog that lives to be 12 years old will cost more than $100 in dog taxes over its lifetime, or more than $1 dollar a year expressed in dog years.

• There are 211,524 licensed dogs in Connecticut.

• The town with the most licensed dogs in Connecticut is Enfield, with 5,335 dog tags. Fairfield, Manchester, West Hartford, and South Windsor round out the top five.

• Scotland has the most dogs per capita, at .608 dogs per human (336 dogs and 553 people).

• Bethlehem has the most licensed dogs per household, at .236 dogs per home, followed by New Hartford, Colebrook, Killingworth, and Tolland.

• Data suggests that compliance rates vary considerably from town to town, with some towns clearly having high rates of pet owners who are “scoffdogs.”

• Hartford and New Haven have the fewest licensed dogs per household.

• Orange has the highest rate of unaltered dogs, 42% of its dogs not having been spayed or neutered.

• 16% of Connecticut households have a licensed dog, less than half the national average of 37%, suggesting that at least some Connecticut hounds may be on the run from the law.

• Of the $2,484,000 collected in dog-related licensing and fees, the State Department of Agriculture took $1,177,000, of which $507,000 went directly towards the state’s Animal Control program; and towns retained $1,306,000.

• Animal control costs reported by the towns totaled $9,334,000

• Portland is the top dog when it comes to dog-related revenue, at more than $84,000. Other towns in the top five are Enfield, Suffield, Stamford, and Meriden.

• Milford lost the most money on dogs, spending $346,000 more on animal control than it collected in dog-related revenue.

• East Lyme led the pack in the fiscal black, with a net gain of almost $7,236.

• Only three Connecticut towns made enough in license and other dog fees to “turn a profit:” East Lyme, Stamford and Beacon Falls.

• Others lose hundreds of thousands on them, including Hartford, Bridgeport, Danbury, and Norwalk.

The full detailed report is available for download now at the Yankee Institute’s website, www.yankeeinstitute.org.

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