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L.A. City Council committee approves plan to mandate microchipping for lost-and-found pets

December 14, 2009 |  8:14 pm

MicrochipThe Los Angeles City Council's Public Safety Committee gave its stamp of approval today to a proposal that would require all lost pets reclaimed at area animal shelters to be microchipped before returning home with their owners.

Should the proposal become law, owners of lost pets would be charged a $15 microchipping fee when they reclaim the animals from shelters in the L.A. area.  (That's actually cheaper than the prices offered by many low-cost microchipping clinics for the devices, which are about the size of a grain of rice.  The chips cost L.A.'s animal services department about $10, meaning that shelters would still turn a small profit on microchipping lost pets. The extra few dollars would be used to pay for other services offered by area shelters.)  

"The fact that we’re willing to give a discount in the long run saves us money," City Councilman Tony Cardenas, who supports the proposal, told our sister blog, L.A. Now. "If [animals] aren't chipped, it will be longer for them to be returned. It is a cost-saving measure."  L.A. Department of Animal Services Assistant General Manager Linda J. Barth framed the debate in different terms, telling L.A. Now that it's "a humane issue" since the proposal, if passed, could prevent pets from being mistakenly euthanized in shelters.

A vote by the full City Council could be a few months away.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: A microchip is held in the foreground, while in the background a dog is scanned by the hand-held device used by animal-services staff to determine whether or not it has been microchipped.  Credit: Los Angeles Times

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