SCRAMENTO, CA - Supporters believe more dogs and cats would be saved from certain death and returned to their lawful owners if state legislators approve a measure requiring thousands of pets to get a microchip.
Hundreds of people braved the heat to get a free microchip for their pets at the State Capitol on Thursday.
The "Microchip Your Pet Clinic" was held as State Sen. Ted Lieu explained SB 702, a bill he authored that would require all dogs and cats leaving California animal shelters to get a microchip.
He believes "microchipping" would reduce the number of lost pets, the number that end up in animal shelters and the cost of euthanizing them.
"Every year shelters in California impound more than 1 million dogs and cats," Lieu said. "More than half of these animals are euthanized because they could not be reunited with their owners. This process costs taxpayers more than $300 million a year."
SB 702 said dogs and cats will be "microchipped" if they're leaving a shelter and being adopted by new owners or returned to registered owners.
"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," Lieu explained.
Tamara Howard found her little chihuahua, LaBelle, on the side of Mack Road in May.
"She was looking lost so I opened my car door, called her and she hopped in," Howard said. "I took her out immediately to see if she was "chipped" and she wasn't."
Howard waited in line for two hours Thursday to get a chip injected under the skin on LaBelle's neck. About the size of a grain of rice, the chip can be scanned and will reveal a number.
As long as Howard goes online and registers her name, address and phone number with that number, her dog can be scanned with a small device which will reveal the number that will lead to Howard.
Howard said she thinks Lieu's proposal is a good idea.
"It's all about the little animals. They need to find their way home if they get out," Howard declared.
Desiree Lavilla, who brought her two dogs to the outdoor clinic, agreed.
"I'm doing the best I can," Lavilla said. "I'm waiting in line for a free microchip so they can come home one day if they ever get lost."
The clinic "microchipped" 300 dogs and cats and passed out vouchers for 300 more animals to get free chips at a veterinarian's office.
SB 702 passed the State Senate earlier in the day and is now being considered in the State Assembly.
By Karen Massie firstname.lastname@example.org