Puppies meet visitors at a dog shelter run by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration in Prawet district of the capital. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

A National Legislative Assembly (NLA) committee on social issues has slammed a proposal to tax pet owners, saying forced registration of animals would be a better approach to reducing the number of strays.

The committee’s chairman, Wallop Tangkananurak, said yesterday the panel disagreed with the idea of a pet tax, raised by Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk.

The committee instead supports documentation of all dogs and cats. The panel drafted an amendment to the Cruelty Prevention and Welfare of Animals Act to force pet owners to have their pets registered, he said. The amendment is also meant to protect animal welfare and ensure responsibility from pet owners, Mr Wallop said.

Local administrative organisations (LAOs) are also duty-bound under the amendment bill to stipulate regulations on how people could bring their pets for registration, he said.

Mr Wallop said the documentation would help authorities ascertain the number of pets and come up with measures on how to have them vaccinated against rabies.

He said a public hearing on the amendment bill will be held next Wednesday before being raised in the NLA meeting.

It is likely the legislation will come into force in either June or July.

After that, pet owners would be obligated to have their pets registered.

Referring to about one million strays, LAOs would be obligated to have them documented and take care of them after the legislation came into force, he said.

Any pet owners whose animals bite other animals or people would be held responsible, he added.

The Department of Livestock Development has announced temporary rabies epidemic zones in 25 provinces with 2.8 million pets vaccinated.

The department said it plans to have more than 82 million animals vaccinated. On Nut Soi 36 in Suan Luang district of Bangkok was the latest area declared as a temporary rabies epidemic zone.

News Reporter

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