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Dogs and cats reclaimed from L.A. city shelters will be required to be microchipped

March 5, 2010 |  2:31 pm

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Friday to require that all pet dogs and cats redeemed from city shelters by their owners be microchipped before their release.

The tiny microchip, injected by a needle under the skin, contains an identification number that correlates to a listing in a database that includes information about the animal’s guardian, alternative contact and veterinarian. Whenever an animal is turned into a shelter, it is scanned for a microchip.

The city already requires that dogs and cats up for adoption at city shelters be microchipped before they are adopted. Their new owners pay a $15 fee for the service. And the shelters allow all pet owners to schedule appointments to bring in cats and dogs to have them microchipped at a fee of $25 per animal.

Microchipping is considered one way to help reunite owners with their animals and reduce the euthanasia of those lost pets languishing in shelters whose owners can’t be located.

Extending the microchip ordinance to pets in shelters reunited with their owners not only raises the chances of future reunifications but also increases revenues for the city. 

In a 2007 letter to the City Council on this issue, former L.A. Department of Animal Services General Manager Ed Boks said that if the 4,030 dogs reunited with their owners in 2006 had been subject to mandatory microchipping at $15 an animal, the city would have made $60,450.

-- Carla Hall