The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

New microchip law comforts pet owners

 
Afew years ago, my family had spent all day looking for Pokey, the lovable golden retriever we had adored since we got him when I was in first grade. Throughout his old age, he had contracted dementia (exhibiting confusion, distance and forgetfulness), and the family was as worried as ever. He would wander away from the house and not be able to find his way back home. His collar — which featured his name, the family’s name and the family’s address inscribed on it— had been lost on his amnesia adventure.
This left little hope that he would be safely returned to us. We somehow managed to find him three days later, covered in mud from the stream a couple miles down the street. He could barely walk, and we surmised he had possibly been hit by a car.
I can remember thinking, “If only we had found him sooner.”
   If only he hadn’t been lost for three days.
Although Pokey is no longer with us, I wonder about our two new canines. We have learned to put two collars on each of them, just hoping they don’t magically figure out how to unhook the tiny buckles. But I’ve heard about something more effective than a dog necklace.
California passed a bill recently that demands microchipping of pets, the nation’s first. Cats and dogs will be required to receive the chip when owners adopt the pets or rescue the pets from shelters. If signed, the bill would take effect on Jan. 1.
The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice, and it is inserted between the shoulder blades. It is said to cost between $5 and $50, but the fee is frequently donated or waived.
The best thing about this fancy microchip is the fact that it significantly improves the likelihood of finding a lost pet. According to research, 73 percent of pets are likely to find a way home.
Although many lost pets are taken to shelters and often euthanized, these pets with chips can hopefully be properly and finally reunited with their owners. The animals euthanized are usually ones that have wandered from their homes or abandoned by people who should have given them a new home.
Euthanizing animals in funded shelters actually costs taxpayers and humane societies $1 billion nationwide. This technology should “greatly reduce the $300-million-per-year taxpayers pay for housing and euthanizing stray animals.”
Although this is only becoming mandatory in the state of California, it is necessary that residents of other states pay attention and consider the operation as well. It may only be required by adopted pets or shelter pets, but asking your veterinarian about the chip could be beneficial to you and your furry best friend. Just because it’s not mandatory in our own hometowns does not mean we can’t make this happen for our Pokeys and the other animals we love with all of our hearts. We all care about our pets and this might be the best way to keep track of them and keep them safe.
The microchip is not just available for cats and dogs, but also for horses and many other animals.
The sooner your pet receives one of these babies, the sooner you can feel confident that your pet can never wander so far as to be unfound. If you’re seriously considering this, don’t wait. Because if you do, it could be a very scary three days.
Becca Horton is a sophomore majoring in communication. She can be contacted at [email protected]

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
New microchip law comforts pet owners