Date: April 1, 2019
By: Ling Ling Chang
Source: Orange County Register
According to the ASPCA about 6.5 million dogs and cats enter a shelter nationwide every year. Worse, about 1.5 million of those are euthanized annually. That translates to an average of 171 animals put to death every hour of the day.
For many of us, our four-legged friends are as much a part of the family as children or siblings, so if they go missing it can be devastating. Sadly, only 15 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats in shelters without identification are reunited with their owners. The first line of protection for finding your lost pet? A microchip.
Yes, a teeny microchip-containing capsule not much bigger than a grain of rice is manufactured with a unique identification number embedded into the microchip and implanted into your pet’s body. The implant is done via a needle, usually in the shoulder area, and the whole process feels similar to getting a shot. Once implanted, your pet will not even know it’s there. Then, you go online to register the ID number with contact information for you or your veterinarian.
Once that’s done, keep the contact information current, and if your pet goes missing and is turned into a shelter, the staff will scan for a microchip, read the ID number on it, and contact the agency that manages the database. The agency then calls you with the good news that your missing pet has been found and where you can pick him or her up.
Pet microchips have proven to be effective. According to the Journal of the American Veterinarian Medical Association, almost 75 percent of lost, microchipped cats and dogs were located due to the presence of the microchip. Many dogs found hundreds of miles from their homes were reunited with their families due to microchips. Still others were found years after they were lost and reunited using microchip technology.
Pet microchipping is a simple, reliable, efficient and inexpensive process that brings a great deal of peace of mind. However, not enough people are doing it.
The problem is that microchipping requirements vary with each municipality. By requiring all municipal shelters in California to microchip sheltered dogs and cats upon adoption, we could reduce the animal shelter population statewide and save taxpayer funds from being spent on euthanizing hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats.
To solve this issue and save lives, I have introduced Senate Bill 64, which would require all municipal animal shelters statewide to microchip any dog or cat adopted or claimed by a pet owner. This bill has received support from numerous rescue centers and organizations including Social Compassion in Legislation and Michelson Found Animals Foundation.
My pets, Buster and Pepper, are part of the Chang family; they are precious to us. Should one or both of them not come home, their microchips will allow us to find them and bring them home. By having shelters microchip every dog and cat adopted out or claimed by an owner, we can help reunite more pets with their owners, cut the number of animals that must be euthanized, and save taxpayer dollars.
The care and housing of lost dogs and cats is expensive, so getting more pets back to their owners will save municipalities millions of dollars annually. But most importantly, SB64 will save animals’ lives – fewer dogs and cats will end up needlessly euthanized. That’s a win for animals, families and taxpayers.
I believe in this effort, I want more lost pets to find their way home! So I will be hosting two free microchipping events. The first one will be in Sacramento on April 2, 2019, and the local event will be at the Placentia Library District at 411 East Chapman Avenue in Placentia, on Saturday, May 11, from 10:00 a.m. through 1:00 p.m. Bring your dogs and cats to receive a free microchip implant. If your pet is already microchipped, bring them to double check the registration is accurate. RSVP is required. RSVP now at www.senate.ca.gov/chang. I hope to see you and your pets there.