California Microchip Bill Will Save Thousands Of Shelter Pets

Lost pets are reunited with their owners in three out of four cases whenthey aremicrochipped. California legislatorsare considering alaw that will require every cat or dog adopted at an animal shelter to be implanted with a lifesaving microchip.

If passed, Senate Bill 702, introduced by state Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance would be the first mandatory pet microchip law enacted in the United States.

Sharon Curtis Granskog, spokesperson for the American Veterinary Medical Association told the Associated Press, “A few states require shelters to scan, but do not require them to actually microchip. New York has introduced a bill every year, including this year that would make microchipping dogs mandatory.” So far that bill has failed.

In addition to saving lives, lawmakers believe the microchip law would save taxpayers money. According to the Cities and Counties Annual Reports, Californians currently “pay about $300 million every year to impound 1 million dogs and cats, house them and euthanize half of them.”

In preparation for the new law, hundreds of pet owners attended the “Microchip Your Pet Clinic” at the State Capitol in Sacramento, reported ABC News 10.

“Lost pets that are not microchipped have only a 13 percent chance of being reunited with their owners. When they have microchips they have a 74 percent chance of going back home,” Senator Lieu told the crowd at the clinic.

One woman who rescued a little Chihuahua named LaBelle from the side of the road explained how she had taken the dog to a veterinarian to see if she was microchipped. The dog did not have a chip, but lucky for LaBelle the woman decided to keep her.

LaBelle proudly received her microchip at the clinic.

Aimee Gilbreath, executive director for Found Animals reminded people that chips are not full-proof and require a little work from pet owners. It is up to the pet guardian to register a microchip with their current contact information and pay a registration fee to a database company that can range from $15 to $75.

“They are not LoJacks or GPS devices,” said Gilbreath. “If you as a pet owner don’t keep the information up to date in the database, the microchip becomes pretty useless.” Found Animals has donated 200,000 free chips since 2005.

However, when properly implanted and registered, statistics show that microchips save lives. They are also helpful in reuniting pets after natural disasters or if cats and dogs get lost during a vacation.

Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and are injected into the tissue between an animal’s should blades. It uses a “radio frequency” that allows a special scanner to read a number that is identified with a specific pet.

Opponents of the bill say that chips move around on a dog’s body and cannot always be detected. And some accuse microchips of causing tumors and cancer.

Supporters acknowledge that chips can “migrate on an active dog,” but can be found; ”it just means scanning a wider swath.” The AP also interviewed four veterinarians about microchips causing cancer and all of them stressed that “problems are unlikely when chips are inserted properly.”

Lawmakers are optimistic SB 702 will pass in mid-August.

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Photo from ianphillips via flickr.


anne r.
Tom R3 years ago

Yes, every state should have this starting January 1st and if you will not reclaim your dog and he is found, there should be a fee (i.e. $300 for the rescue who will house him until he gets a home). Dogs should not be euthanized if healthy or found starving because of abandonment or surrender

Fiona T.
Past Member 5 years ago

Thanks for this technology to saveguard our helpless friends

Christopher M.
Christopher M.5 years ago

I microchipped my last cat. Imagine, the beast having the mark. Ha ha.

Patricia McCaskill

As a member of Forgotten Felines for 7 years, we microchipped many cats and never had one report of problems. Of course if one is a guardian of a dog or cat a visual and hands on exam should be made to access health and to find any problems that need to be attended to.
I've found many dogs and the ones that were immediately returned to their homes were those that were microchipped. If you ever find a dog or cat, take them to a local Vet and they will scan them for a chip.
Yes compulsory microchipping should be the norm.
@nichole s. 'hurts' getting an injection. Better temporary pain than being lost forever.

Tricia Hamilton
Tricia Hamilton6 years ago

It is about time that people watch out for animals. Even though I trapped and neutered/spayed many. I can acutally know when one didn't come back. It totally sucks!!! ) :

Alice G.
Alice G6 years ago

The microchip is so small that cannot cause any damage to the animal. Who says that chips are dangerous are only lazy idiots politicians, doctors or whomever has a monetary interest that animals continue to be subject to cruelty and death in the nation wide shelters. And of course there are many gullible people to believe it. I hate media manipulation, and those who considers us dumbos and retards. Go for microchip-ing all the animals and it will benefit everybody. Yes, good idea!

Seabert B.
Seabert B6 years ago

This is a good thing and I like the idea very much. All states need to pass this law for we can find the owners of all lost pets and also stop crimes on snimals and punish the one that do them. Pass the law, all states.

Gita Sasi Dharan
Gita Sasi Dharan6 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Majvi Treff
Majvi Traff6 years ago

I know lot´s of cats who have microchip and I´ve never heard someone had a problem with it.

Carol M.
Carol Maroun6 years ago

my cat went missing when i was away for one week. I would have never seen him again only for the microchip. But I do worry about the infrctions that have been discussed, although our Aussie vets are brilliant and I do trust mine to do the right thing. What else can we do? Carom DABS Animal Society Australia