US city orders microchips installed in dogs
Canine owners near San Francisco will be in the doghouse if they don’t obey a trend-setting requirement to implant pooches with identification microchips, police said.
Officials in the city of Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco, are making it a crime not have high-tech dog tags imbedded under the skin of what the socially-sensitive here refer to as canine “companions.” “This is a case where Oakland was ahead of the ball instead of behind it,” said police Sergeant David Cronin, head of the animal services department, who helped draft the ordinance, which is in the process of being approved by the city.
“It’s a relatively new idea,” he continued. “I think we will see most communities make it a requirement in the coming years.” The microchips are about the size of rice grains and are easily implanted under the skin of dogs’ necks, according to Cronin.
“For most dogs, it is completely painless,” Cronin told AFP. “Others yelp for about a second.” The animal services department charges owners 10 dollars to implant a chip, which stores an identification number that can be read by a handheld scanner, Cronin said. Information about dog owners is linked to those numbers in a computer.
“It is very effective, cheap and easy,” Cronin said. “We hope it will result in more dogs being reunited with their owners.” Breaking the law once will result in a warning. Second offenses will be punishable by fines of $100, and subsequent strikes will be hit with fines of $1,000, according to the ordinance. Dog “chipping” will help police deal with problems ranging from dog theft to owners surreptitiously swapping tags from one pooch to another the way people switch license plates on cars, according to Cronin. “Dog theft is a nationwide issue,” Cronin said. “Small dogs are very popular right now.”
Dogs are stolen from cars and yards for resale, to be used as training “bait” for fighting dogs, or “because they are incredibly cut, like this Chihuahua in my office right now,” Cronin said. The ordinance is expected to go into effect by the fall. In addition, it bans people from owning more than three dogs unless granted an exemption and also bars the ownership of roosters in city limits.
The limit on dog packs in the city is aimed at curbing noisy barking and animal abuse, as well as thwart illegal breeding operations, Cronin said. Roosters have to go underground because their main purposes in life seem to be fertilizing eggs and crowing, neither of which is an appropriate in an urban setting, Cronin said. afp