Just last month,
a terrier named Coco, who belonged to San Diego Assemblymember Ben Hueso, went
missing from his home. Coco was found in Fresno about 350 miles away and
because Coco had a microchip, he was able to be reunited with his family.
The result: A happy lawmaker and an even happier dog.
But not everyone
is so lucky.
shelters in California impound nearly one million dogs and cats, and more than
half of these animals are euthanized, many because they were lost and could not
be reunited with their original owners.
authored Senate Bill SB 702, which seeks to address a critical problem facing
California, where only 13 percent of animals entering shelters are reunited
with their owners.
The problem goes
beyond dead pets and their heartbroken owners. According to the State
Controller’s office, each year this process costs local governments about $300
million. My bill would slash these costs while providing a painless,
cost-effective way to make it easier for pet owners to be reunited with their
lost animals. Lack of proper identification for pets is a significant
source of overcrowding at our municipal shelters statewide.
animal welfare experts, if a lost pet is microchipped, animal control officers
or a veterinarian can scan the pet and get them home before they enter a
shelter. This process can normally cost nearly $50 and helps reduce pet
intakes at shelters. Additionally, microchipped pets have a 74-percent chance
of finding their way back home.
In a major step
to put an end to pet overpopulation in California, the Senate last month passed
SB 702 with an overwhelming bipartisan, 36-2 vote. It now faces an Assembly
If signed into
law, SB 702 would require that owners of animals adopted from or impounded and
claimed by their owner from a local animal shelter implant an identifying
microchip under the skin near the animal’s neck upon release, if available, or
within 30 days of release from the shelter. This bill authorizes local
jurisdictions to waive the fines or fees associated with the SB 702 if the
owner qualifies for free or reduced-cost microchipping services.
When a pet is
found by an animal shelter or veterinarian, a scanner is used to see if the pet
has a microchip. If so, the scanner provides the unique ID number of the
chip, which is linked to the owner’s contact information. A microchip is not an
active pet-tracking device and therefore it is essential for the owner to keep
their contact information current with the microchip’s manufacturer.
Like Hueso, all
pet owners benefit from microchipping. Our state can no longer afford to spend
$300 million in taxpayer funds to euthanize pets in shelters. Not only is this
irresponsible, but there are solutions, like SB 702. Together, we can
begin fixing the problem.
To help bring
this issue to light, we are inviting Sacramento-area residents to bring their
pets and join us for free microchip implanting and low-cost vaccination day at
the Capitol on Thursday, July 7 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. by the fish pond near the