Skip to comments.Lost and Found (Microchips Become Mandatory for Santa Cruz County Pets)
Posted on 03/22/2014 1:53:05 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Its 10 p.m., do you know where your dog is?
Beginning next month, that question will be easier to answer for owners with lost pets. As a result of a 4-to-1 Board of Supervisors vote on Tuesday, Feb. 24, Santa Cruz County pet owners will soon be required to insert microchips into their dogs and cats.
County animal control officials cite the microchip programs exceptional track record of reuniting stray animals with their owners as a primary driver for the law while pointing out that it will ultimately save taxpayers money.
The whole idea is to get owned animals home as quick as possible, says Melanie Sobel, general manager of the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter. Collars and tags are great, but unfortunately many dogs and cats come into the shelter without a collar. The microchip is permanent and unalterable.
According to Sobel, lost dogs and cats with microchips spend, on average, five fewer days in the shelter before being reunited with their owners.
Space in the shelter is a precious and limited resource, Sobel says. The faster we can get these animals home, the less taxpayers have to pay to house them. It also creates room for incoming ownerless animals that are in much more difficult and dire situations.
Opponents to the plan have cited medical and privacy concerns while voicing fears that the procedure exists primarily to line the pockets of veterinarians.
Sobel explains that the procedure is not detrimental to the animals. In fact, she compares the microchipping law to rabies vaccinationsa mandatory law enacted in 1970 that contributed directly to the eradication of the disease.
Much like rabies, this is a public safety issue, Sobel says. It is designed to serve the best interests of both the animals and our community.
The chip, which is the size of a large grain of rice, is embedded into the scruff of the dog or cats neck with a hypodermic needle and has been described as a benign procedure by Dr. Dana Gleason, staff veterinarian at the county animal shelter.
The cost of this procedure can be anywhere from $20-$50 although some microchip companies charge an additional registration fee. However, the shelter is currently offering $10 microchipping for Santa Cruz County dogs through the end of March.
As for privacy concerns, Sobel insists that the county does not harvest the data stored on microchips.
This is not an Orwellian plot by big government, she says. In fact, the information is stored by the private companies that manufacture the chips. Furthermore, contrary to what some people will tell you, the next step is not microchipping children.
Supervisor Greg Caput cast the lone dissenting vote against the proposal on Feb. 24, citing concerns that it would create unnecessary bureaucracy and penalize well-meaning citizens.
While Caput was not available for comment as of press time, he has gone on record saying that he believes the procedure should remain voluntary.
When the law goes into effect, animal officers will be able to scan pets to check for microchips and identify the animals owners. Non-compliant owners will receive what amounts to a fix-it ticket.
Animals are a luxury, not a right, Sobel says. You have to be a responsible pet owner. Think of it this waycar owners are expected to register their cars and get a smog test. This is no different.
The microchip implant is an identifying integrated circuit that uses passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, and is also known as a PIT tag (for Passive Integrated Transponder). At the Feb. 24 vote, a member of the public expressed concerns that the radio waves emitted by the chips are harmful.
Gary Silberstein, a retired UC Santa Cruz professor in molecular and cellular biology studies, disagrees, asserting that such health fears have no scientific basis.
Were constantly bathed in radio waves every second of our lives, Silberstein says. The effect of something like this RFID on our cells is nonexistent. Its not even detectable.
In addition to reuniting lost animals with their owners, Sobel says microchips also help the shelter avoid adopting or euthanizing animals by mistake and improve the tracking of dangerous dogs.
Ive been doing this for a long time, Sobel says. And theres nothing worse than seeing an owned animal in a cage who cant tell you where it lives. This is considered a best practice for animal welfare and is currently advocated [for] by all legitimate shelters and organizationsits in your pets best interests to be vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and now microchipped.
With the passing of the law, Santa Cruz County joins several California communities requiring pet microchips, including Long Beach, Riverside and Los Angeles County.
The upside to this is, if some thug’s dog turns up dead after a dog fight, they’ll know who to come after.
Mine are chipped.
And registered with the national chip ID registry.
Yeah, it’s overkill.
The downside to this, microchips can cause cancer in pets
All that means nothing, unless you teach them their phone number.
I got back my chipped cat from the pound after a neighbor trapped it in his yard and took it there. Normally we have a collar on him, but he slipped out without it one night. Normally the pound charges to pick up your animal, but they waived it because he was chipped.
You put a collar on your neighbor?
Remember.Dr.Katrina? Most of the pets weren’t chipped or licensed. There were so many of them they shipped them out to rescue organizations and shelters. Most never got back to the owners who wanted them back.
If my dogs ever get loose I want them back so they are both chipped and Animal Control has the info as well. It is also earthquake country so even a moderate quake could’ve a fence over or pop a door open letting them out. The dog tags have both my cell and home numbers as well as my email address.
Since shelters and rescue organizations h ave limited space and the failure to get them back to t h e owners is a real problem if not chipped and that often results in t h e dogs being killed I am in favor of all dogs being chipped.
FWIW.....many people are *transient*....meaning they move from place to place. And I'm sure that the *last* thing they think about is to change their info in the database.
Also, I don't see people complying with the mandate, any more than they do with registering/tagging their dogs, in the first place.
Yeah, I call BS on that article. Anecdotal occurrences like those noted in the article mean nothing. And occurrence of cancer in lab animals is not the same as in normal pets.
The cancers listed in the article are extremely common in dogs, especially hermangio-carcenoma, chipped or not, so I wouldn’t jump to assume it has anything to do with chips.
We have been chipping all our dogs for years (we are dog breeders), essentially since they came out, and have not seen anything to suggest linkage with chips. (And of course, this is also no more than anecdotal either...)
My wife regularly scans veterinary publications for anything like this, that might benefit our dogs and breeding program. It hasn’t hit her radar.
In my opinion, the benefits of chipping outweigh the known possible problems right now.
I remember it well.
In fact, some people located their “rehomed” dogs and fought to get them back.
That was criminal.
And that is exactly why the vet who chips the dog includes his clinic number.
No matter where the owner roams, the vet remains and if he retires, another vet gets the info.
I have my dogs’ chips registered with the national database and the AKC.
No matter what, they are shown to be owned by me and at least one of the contact numbers I provided is bound to still be alive and reachable.
I wish I had those.
Alas, they’re just leather collars with 3/4” decorative spikes.
Not much use, really.
The key is moderation and choice.
For animals who cannot speak for themselves, I applaud it.
What if your mentally impaired parent or spouse wandered off?
Would you then demonize the chip that would get them home?
Please don’t tell me you’re into the whole ‘chips are the mark of the beast” silliness because they are not.
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