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PetMed to pay $1 per share special dividend

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- PetMed Express Inc. said Monday it will pay a special dividend of $1 per share later this month and said it plans to keep paying regular quarterly dividends.

The special dividend will be payable Dec. 24 to shareholders of the pet pharmacy company as of Dec. 14.

PetMed joins many other companies that have announced plans to issue a special end-of-year payment to protect investors who might face higher taxes on dividend income starting in January. Since 2003 the top rate on dividend income has been 15 percent, but that rate will end unless Congress and the White House reach a compromise on taxes and spending before the end of the month. Otherwise, dividends would be taxed at the higher rates of ordinary income.

PetMed also said future dividends are "discretionary and will be subject to a determination by the Board of Directors each quarter" based on the company's financial performance.

The shares rose a penny to close at $11.55.