Should microchips be mandatory for shelter pets? Lawmakers think … maybe


California lawmakers are considering making microchipping shelter and rescue animals mandatory in what could be the first major microchipping law in the US. Senate Bill 702, sponsored by California Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, would require that all dogs and cats be microchipped before being adopted or returned to their owners, in the case of lost pets.


Pets Unlimited in San Francisco already microchips all of its adoptable pets, like Esmeralda.

Advocates of the bill hope to increase the number of lost pets returned to their homes and reduce the cost of caring for lost pets.

The Associated Press reports (read the full article here):

California taxpayers pay about $300 million every year to impound 1 million dogs and cats, house them and euthanize half of them, according to the Cities and Counties Annual Reports submitted to the state controller. Thirteen percent of lost pets entering shelters in California are reunited
with owners, Lieu said, but studies show that number could grow to 75 percent with chips.

Dr. Linda K. Lord, associate dean for student affairs at Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, studied 53 shelters in 23 states between August 2007 and March 2008. Co-authors included another veterinarian, a humane society representative and a consultant to a Canadian pharmaceutical company, which was also parent to a microchip manufacturer.

They found shelters located owners of microchipped pets in three out of four cases.

When owners couldn’t be found, it was because of incorrect or outdated contact information in the chipmaker’s registration database, Lord said.

Opponents of the bill cite health concerns for the pets and taking the choice away from pet parents. However, when the Associated Press interviewed four veterinarians about the risks of microchips they stressed that — when inserted properly — health risks to the pet are unlikely.

Tell us: Do you believe all shelter and rescue pets should be microchipped?

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More about Senate Bill 702: SB 702 (Lieu) Dog licensing: microchip implants

The Associated Press: Calif mulls microchip law on pet shelter adoptions

More about microchipping:

Learn more about the benefits of enrolling your pet with HomeAgain

Why Microchip Your Pet?

What Are the Advantages of Microchips?

Microchips Are Catching On

How do Pet Microchips Work?

Keep Your Microchip’s Info Up-to-Date

Bonus Benefits of Microchipping Your Pet

Pet Microchip FAQs

Pet-reunion stories:

A door-dashing dog is found 70 miles away

See a lost dog as she’s reunited with her family

An indoor cat disappears while vacationing with her family

A dog is lost (then found) while the family is out

A stolen dog comes home after five long years