Swiss Dogs to Die if Owners Don’t Pay Taxes

No, the headline above is not from Medieval times. It's happening right now in the village of Reconvilier, Switzerland. The message from local official Pierre-Alain...

Maria Goodavage  |  Jan 12th 2011


No, the headline above is not from Medieval times. It’s happening right now in the village of Reconvilier, Switzerland. The message from local official Pierre-Alain Nemitz and other village officials: Pay up our dog’s annual taxes, or the dog dies.

The village, with 2,245 people and 280 dogs, charges a $50 yearly tax for dogs. Nemitz cites a law from 1904 that permits Reconveilier to kill dogs if owners don’t pay the tax, according to an AP story. Of course, Nemitz says, other less permanent measures would be taken first, including setting up a payment plan. But if it comes down to it, the dog of the tax delinquent could be history, says Nemitz.

“I understand affection reach to a dog, but our town is poor and the rules are the same for all,” he said in an article in Le Matin.

A lethal injection is sentimentality, Nmitz said in an earlier article in Le Matin, when discussing a problem the village had with dogs 30 years ago. We took them to a knacker’s yard, shot them in the head, and it was doneEuthanasia is for humans, and in our era, we’re not going to dilute the truth.

As you can imagine, he and his family have received plenty of threats since his proposal. But not all local dog owners there are infuriated by the tax-collecting plan. “When you do not pay the tax on the vehicles, you are withdrawn the plates,” dog owner and breeder Andr Fankhauser said in Le Matin. Apparently a vehicle’s plates are equal to a dog’s life in this breeder’s eyes.

I probably don’t have to ask you what you think, Dogsters, but I will anyway. What’s your opinion of the tax man being the doggy grim reaper? What would you do if this happened where you live?