In July, Happy the min-pin escaped from his yard in Riverside, California. His owners searched for him for two weeks, but never found him. They were so convinced that he was lost for good that they even adopted a new dog.
But just last week, two good Samaritans found Happy in a park in Palm Springs, and took him to the local animal shelter. Fortunately, Happy has a microchip, and it was easy to reunite him with his owners.
Sitting on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for signature is Senate Bill 702, the country’s first legislation that would mandate microchips for pets as of January 1, 2012. The bill requires animal control agencies, shelters and rescues to microchip dogs and cats before being adopted or — if not already chipped like Happy — before being claimed if picked up as a stray.
Christian Science Monitor reports that California shelters impound more than one million dogs and cats a year, and euthanize over half of those animals. The cost to house and euthanize those animals is $300 million each year. This bill seeks to reduce the euthanasia rate and costs by increasing the chance that the animal and owner can be reunited.
Microchips are an inexpensive and easy way to make sure that your companion animals can be identified and that you can be notified quickly and easily. With last week’s earthquake and hurricane in this region, there is no time like the present to get your animals microchipped if they are not already. As pointed out by the Examiner, this is just the one step to careful emergency preparedness.
One word of warning. Even if your dogs and cats are microchipped, state law may still require collars and identification tags. For an example, take a look at Virginia Code Section 3.2-6531.