State law requires all Texas shelters to sterilize animals that are being adopted and mark them with a tattoo or implant a microchip saying the procedure has been done. Most shelters are using microchips because it also IDs the animal. The law went into effect in 2006.
"It's one more tool to get the animal home. First and foremost, it's about reuniting the animal and the owner," said Paul Curington, operations manager for Dallas Animal Services. "But you can look at that microchip as an enforcement tool. It's a way to drive responsibility into someone."
A few jurisdictions, such as Los Angeles County, require all pets to have microchips. El Paso is alone among Texas cities in requiring them for all dogs, cats and ferrets within the city limits, said Lorenzo Hinojos, the city's animal regulation and disease control supervisor.
"It's a great idea," said Jay Sabatucci, president of the Texas Animal Shelter Coalition. "It's a relatively new idea, but I can see that coming in more places."
Most animal control officers carry scanners with them. [OUR FUTURE? Policeman carrying scanners?] They can return microchipped animals home rather than impound them, which frees up space in crowded shelters, Mr. Sabatucci said.
"Most people don't understand how the shelter business works," he said. "They don't want your animal."
The shelter charges $25 to microchip an impounded animal. Officials hope to
offer the service to the public later at a reduced cost. [Money, money,
SPCA of Texas hospitals charge $28 and Operation Kindness $15. Chips implanted by veterinarians can run from $45 to $75.
READ THE INFO ON HOW THE CHIPS WORK
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