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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  1. I don't believe that it should be a law. However, I do believe that anyone who loves and cares for their pets should microchip them. I have personally recovered my dog because it was microchipped. My dog wears a collar with license information and phone number and it was either removed or lost. If it were not for the microchip I would have never got my dog back. I also know of other people that have recovered their dogs solely because of having them microchipped. A shelter will always scan a dog for a microchip! The problem is that when you move you must update your personal information with the chip company and you must register your pets microchip into a national database. If you do this and only if you do this do you have a good chance of someone finding you.
    As for needing different scanners, etc. My vet and most vets that I have gone too have a universal scanner that can detect the two different microchips that are widely used. There were problems a few years ago but to my knowledge this has been resolved. I have asked a few shelters and they told me that they have both types of scanners just to make sure they give every stray a chance to be returned to their owners.
    A good idea for those of you that may have microchipped your pets is that on EVERY visit to your veterinarian you should request that they scan your pet. There are instances where the chip can move and be very difficult to detect.

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  2. We adopted a dog from Animal Friends of the Valley a few months ago. They offer microchipping, but we decided against it as the woman we dealt with said her dog had a horrible reaction to the chip when they implanted it, and that they really don't do that much good, especially if your dog is licensed.

    So this law totally baffles me!

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  3. I just wrote the post above....Now this has me thinking...I live off of Scott Rd/Menifee Rd. in the Meritage Sagemore neighborhood...I just looked at the city boundaries, and my neighborhood is NOT marked as within the boundaries....So is this area considered Riverside Co. and not Menifee? It's really confusing.

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  4. Everything north of Scott Rd is Menifee. But only a few pockets of land south of Scott are Menifee.

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  5. Just another way to control you and get your money. I'm telling you, if we're not careful in this country, we're going to wonder what happened to America not 5 or 10 years from now.

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  6. Personally I think it should be one or the other as a law. Simply put though I bet more people do not license their dogs in the first place, so how could it be effective?

    Animal control cannot keep up with the load they have now, and I guarantee they will not be able to enforce the law to the majority of the population. The only one's who will get zapped are the one's who go looking for their pet. This alone might just be enough for some folks to "skip" looking for their dogs and doing nothing about controlling the pet population.

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  7. I think its a good idea but shouldn't be mandatory...my son works at a dog rescue and they are able to return dogs that get turned in by checking the chips....
    our cats are totally inside and never go out...I see no reason for chips for cats and think its just a way to get more $$ out of us.

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  8. Are you aloud to mfg a chip to put into your own pets? Also, if I catch the cat that has been crapping in my garden can I have it scanned to find out who the owner is?

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  9. Don't you have to pay a monthly fee to the company whose chip is in your dog ? I heard there was a fee involved on top of the fee to have the chip implanted in the first place. Things cost so much now to own a dog and I think making people pay more for a chip too is going to be the cause of more dogs being put in shelters.People are going to ask themselves if they should spend money to put a chip in their dog or buy their kid some food. Goverment needs to stop making it so hard for families to keep their pets.....it already costs an arm and a leg to rescue and feed a dog. Please don't make it any worse for the pets sake....they need to be kept with the familys who love them.

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  10. I own a dog that has a chip in it. i bought it when it was two years old from someone. Yhey never registered the chip and gave me the paper work.I have never registered the dog either because there is a yearly fee (14.99) to keep the chip in the database. So possibly not only will you have to licence your dog/cat but you will also have to pay a yearly fee to keep your chip updated.

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  11. I have 2 dogs, both chipped through different companies. I don't pay a fee for either chip. The chipping process was easy, neither dog even flinched and neither dog had any reaction. My vet checks the chips every year during their physical exams to make sure they can be read. Easy as pie. BTW both dogs are also licensed and ID tagged so anyone can call me if the dogs happen to get lost.

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  12. Pretty soon we will be chipping people with RFIDs. Verichip is the company that does this. They are publicly traded on NASDAQ.. CHIP is their symbol.

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  13. I have an AVID chip in my dog (who never goes out by the way, he's small and only goes into a gated section of back yard) If I lost him I would be heartbroken. I don't pay any yearly fee and 15.00 to change it is a minimal amount to protect your animal.The cats are different, they stay in mostly and I think its kind of silly. One or the other should be the rule. So the owner can be tracked down. I do have collars on all my pets and think that is a great thing too. I have returned 3 dogs in my neighborhood to their owners and one that lived two areas over due to phone numbers on their collars. A very good idea.

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  14. I would love to have that little chip in me. To not have to carry ID, credit cards, cash, etc. would be a great idea and so much for identity theft. Match the chip id to your fingerprint or retina and it's pretty much foolproof.

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  15. If we put microchips into each of us, then how about putting our Facebook profiles on those chips too. That way we can share ourselves in completely new ways.

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  16. Yes, then we wouldn't even have to speak. Just hold out your wrist and scan one another.

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  17. But wait... the county still regulates dog licensing right? So why wouldn't Menifee be required to follow the county's new mandate?

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  18. I work for the County...and if Animal Control is still in charge of working the area, which I believe they still do handle Menifee, then yes, the same rules apply to the City of Menifee as it does to the unicorporated areas of Riverside County.

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  19. Sadly I had an indoor cat and he got out. Since he had been chipped I called the company as well as local shelters. I was not able to find my cat and the attitude I received was that it's not lojack...chances are the cat would never make it to a shelter with the ability to scan:(

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  20. The reality is that collars come off, and licenses do as well. My black lab has been through 2 collars and has lost his personalized tag twice.

    The idea is - and I live in that unincorporated area and have picked up many a dog and cat wandering the open lots - that when I pick up a critter, I can go to my vet and they can scan them and someone's pet, who is hopefully being desperately missed, will have a better chance of getting home.

    Even well-attended pets get out of their yards/homes. When it has happened to mine, I've been very, very happy they are licensed and chipped.

    Out where I am, many of the critters are not licensed, not spayed/neutered and are barely kept in yards or the yards aren't even fenced in. It's a huge problem and if the law will force some of my neighbors to be a little more responsible for the critters they have welcomed into their home, I'm all for it.

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  21. All three forms of ID can bring a pet back home. The license tag, a tag w/phone #, and the microchip all have their usefulness.

    Recently, I found a small dog in Sun City with no collar. I took it to a vet clinic. They checked for a microchip, found one, called the owner, and five minutes later, the owner and dog were reunited.

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  22. I addressed this issue in a law review article, published by the Oklahoma Journal of Law & Technology. It is available here:
    http://www.okjolt.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=121:7-okla-j-l-a-tech-52-2011&catid=41:emerging-technologies&Itemid=62

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