If passed, a bill currently sitting on California Governor Jerry Brown's desk, and supported by the Humane Society of the United States, will become what author Senator Ted Lieu (D) calls "the first micro-chipping law in the nation."
According to the bill, the microchips are to be placed in lost animals that are recovered by shelters. The microchips are placed under the skin by injection, just beneath the back of the animal's neck. If the animal is lost again, the microchip will be scanned and will relay information to shelter workers, such as the pet's name, previous shelter location, and how to contact the current owner. Microchipping can cost up to $50, but this fee is often donated or waived.
Senator Lieu hopes this measure will decrease the number of animals being euthanized, while increasing the number of pets that can be returned to their homes.
California taxpayers currently spend $300 million a year sheltering and euthanizing stray animals. And yet passing new laws mandating spaying and neutering for pets has been a difficult endeavor.
Monica Nolan, director of Ventura County Animal Services, notes that only 23 percent of the pets impounded in the county shelter last year were reclaimed by their owners. This measure would not only curb confusion, but costs as well.
"It costs us $23 day to house a dog. Last year, we had 7,900 dogs and they all stayed more than one day," Nolan told the Ventura County Star.
"Nationwide, this costs local taxpayer-funded shelters and humane societies $1 billion. This has to stop," Senator Lieu told The Christian Science Monitor. "This will not only stop the unnecessary killing of dogs and cats, but will also prevent the waste of taxpayer money."
Image: Christopher Nolan / via Flickr