SAN DIEGO - A new state bill would require owners of dogs and cats to microchip their pets before leaving the animal shelter.
Every day, animals with a loving home somehow end up at the San Diego County Department of Animal Services and spokesman David Johnson said one way for pets to get home safely is with a microchip.
“You have to remember pets can’t speak up and tell us where their home is,” said Johnson. “Just this morning, we had a severely injured cat come in to our medical department and within a matter of hours we were able to contact the owner. San Diego County probably microchips more animals than anyone in Southern California.”
Johnson said currently there are more than 100,000 animals microchipped in San Diego, the same large number can’t be said for our neighboring cities.
“We already have an ordinance here in San Diego that allows us to microchip, and there’s a state law being considered that would affect all animal shelters and organizations,” said Johnson.
The statewide microchip law of shelter animals would be the first of its kind in the country.
“As usual, California leads the way in innovative laws, and this would be one of those,” said Assemblyman Ben Hueso (D-San Diego).
Hueso said this bill hits home for him after a microchip saved his dog’s life.
“For me, it allowed for us to recover our pet. It worked for me, it can work for Californians as well," said Hueso.
According to animal services, it’s a simple procedure.
“It’s a small radio transmitter about the size of a grain of rice—inserted behind the skin,” said Johnson.
Opponents of the bill said microchips can cause health problems, but Johnson said the benefits out-weigh the risks.
“Anything that reunites animals and is a tool that can get that animal back to its owner, is something the department can support,” said Johnson.
The bill recently passed the Senate and is headed to the Assembly for approval within the next week.