Mandatory Pet Microchipping

This issue doesn't necessarily affect Menifee; it only applies to the unincorporated areas of the County. But I can't help thinking...

pet microchipThis issue doesn't necessarily affect Menifee; it only applies to the unincorporated areas of the County. But I can't help thinking that this law will be coming to Menifee down the road.

The County Board of Supervisors adopted a new ordinance that requires people to microchip their dogs and cats by March 1, or else face a fine of $100.00, possibly up to $500.00 for repeated violations.

Considering very few people microchip their animals, this sounds like a gold mine opportunity.

Microchips are these things they inject into a dog or cat's neck. It contains an ID number. That number is referenced in a computer database which brings up the name of the animal's owner. The idea is that if a dog or cat winds up in a shelter or rescue, they can scan the animal's neck and return it to the owner.

But as things are right now, the law already requires pet owners to license their pets. The law requires that the animal wear a licensing tag. In theory, there's no need to get a microchip. Your lost dog or cat will be returned back to you, provided you complied with the licensing requirement.

So why also add a microchipping law? Supposedly to address those owners who don't license their pets.

Which makes this an oxymoronic law. How do you expect people to comply with a microchipping law, if they were brazen enough to violate the licensing law?

Earning more money for the County seems to be the better explanation. It allows the County to tack on an extra fine, particularly at a time when the County is not earning new housing fees.

Since everyone is required to comply with this law, it's basically a way to raise taxes without calling it a tax.

There's also the problem of microchipping standards. It sounds like some veterinarians are using the AVID chip which transmits a signal at 125khz, while others are using the ISO chip which transmits at 134.2khz. Each chip needs a different chip scanner to work. Furthermore, there are several chip databases and they're not all consolidated into one access point. A shelter would need a scanner for every chip, and access to every chip database.

Second, people don't seem to update their chips. When they move to a new residence, they don't contact the chip database to update their records. The same is true for people who adopt animals that were microchipped by previous owners.

Microchips sound cool, but the devil is in the details. There's a good chance your pet will still end up dead even if it's microchipped.

I'm not against microchips, I'm just against making it law. Fining people who don't comply with this won't address the problem of overcrowding shelters.

Certainly shelters and rescues are overburdened with many homeless pets. But this microchipping law will only address those dogs and cats who escaped from home. It won't address the animals whose owners no longer want them, it won't address animals who were seized by the County, and it won't address the puppy mills.

I think the escaped pets are actually the minority of problems.

Since I don't work at a shelter or rescue, I don't know what the real-life situation is. But I'd love to hear some opinions.


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