September 6, 2019 / 3:01 PM / a month ago

It's a dog's life: Spanish city slaps tax on man's best friend

FILE PHOTO: A dog is airborne as it catches a frisbee next to its owner in a park in Madrid, Spain, May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Perez/File Photo

MADRID (Reuters) - Tired of bankrolling the costs of cleaning up dog excrement from its streets, Spain’s northwestern city of Zamora, where the number of registered dogs exceeds the number of children, has imposed a tax on dog owners to be levied from next year.

“Dog owners should contribute to a certain extent to the (city) expenses,” Diego Bernardo, Zamora’s tax councilor, told Reuters, acknowledging though that not everyone was happy with the new, if modest, levy of nine euros a year.

“The tax has caused strong citizen reaction. Some don’t agree at all, others just resigned themselves to the fact and some accept it, (but) not all reactions have been negative,” he said.

The city hall in the provincial capital expects to raise between 50,000 euros and 90,000 euros ($55,200-$99,360) annually from the tax, which will be used to create more dog walking areas, pay for clean-up and distribute bags for canine waste.

A few cities around the world have similar taxes, one of the highest being charged in the Hague, at 120 euros for one dog, that amount increasing with every extra dog kept in a household.

In a different take on the problem, the mayor of Spain’s capital Madrid last year tried to push for compulsory dog DNA tests in order to be able to identify and fine dog owners who leave their best friends’ poop in the streets. After a change in mayor, the plan was dropped.

Reporting by Paola Luelmo, writing by Andrei Khalip, Editing by William Maclean

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