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Mandatory microchip implants for shelter dogs and cats vetoed

October 7, 2011 |  3:36 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday rejected a proposal to require that dogs and cats reclaimed from animal shelters in California have microchips implanted to make it easier to reunite them with owners.

"Under current law, local agencies and shelters can -- and should — require animals to be microchipped before being released,’’ Brown wrote in his veto message.  "There is no need for state law to mandate the procedure, which would then require the state to pay for it."

Data-bearing microchips the size of a grain of rice are routinely implanted just beneath the skin of animals, allowing information that would identify the owner to be retrieved when an electronic scanner is passed over them.

Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) had predicted that his legislation would save taxpayers millions of dollars by reducing the number of cats and dogs put to death by shelters because they are unclaimed.

California shelters impound more than a million dogs and cats a year, and about half of them are euthanized, many because their owners cannot be found, Lieu said.

-- Patrick McGreevy

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