Help Wanted

Hi everyone! The title doesn’t mean that I am hiring, but I do need some help with a research project and I appreciate everyone’s input. I am sure you remember the post I wrote about my friend’s cat, Reggie who was wrongly euthanized. If you missed it, the link is here.

She asked me to use my blogging voice to do something so this won’t happen again. I contacted a state representative to work on a new law that would require mandatory microchip scans on all cats and dogs before euthanasia. My state representative, actually met with me and explained the process. He brought up several points that had not crossed my mind before our meeting like the cost of a scanner and if it needs maintenance, etc. If any laws are in place in other states, it will be easier to build on that research so here are my questions. I am also interested in other countries’ laws as well.

  1. Do you know of any law requiring a microchip scan at the vet office and/or shelters?
  2.  Do any of your states require microchips in pets?
  3. I know England recently passed a law requiring all dogs be microchipped- do all vet offices and rescues there have scanners?
  4. For those that work in shelters and vet offices: Are microchips always in the same place? And how quickly does the scanner pick up the chip?

I welcome any and all information you have on these questions and anything else you want to suggest. I also encourage you to work with your state representatives to get this law passed in your state as well. Thank you.

DSCF1455 (2)Joanie was going to show her tummy, but she is being shy.

72 thoughts on “Help Wanted

  1. I’m pretty sure we have no such requirement in VA. This is one reason I always suggest that all cats should have a collar and I.D. tag even when microchipped. Good luck with this project. It is an honorable one. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  2. I don’t think we have a rule like that in California. I do know that there was a state bill (702) to require all pets adopted from shelters to be microchipped, but for some unknown reason our governor (who USUALLY I agree with, but not in this case) vetoed.

    • That is odd, unless he figured the cost to the shelter would be too high- it still should have passed though.

    • Just an FYI, SB702 (2011) was vetoed by Gov. Brown because “Under current law, local agencies and shelters can – and should – require animals to be microchipped before being released. There is no need for state law to mandate the procedure, which would then require the state to pay for it.”

  3. Your post brings up bad memories for me. I did a number of newspaper columns on microchips years ago. I took pictures at a shelter and although the shelter claimed to have a scanner, the idiot in charge wouldn’t use it. Occasionally he did, if he was in the mood. I was standing at the counter once when someone said he was glad his pet was mc’d because he’d get it back. I spoke out to say he’d better not lose it because it would be dead at the shelter. Still, nothing was done.

    At that time I learned there were at least two types of scanners. One company told me they sometimes donated one to a shelter that couldn’t afford one. It was when I said help was available and the shelter should ask for help that I was told they already had one but didn’t use it. I don’t know the company still donates.

    A scanner is worthless if not used. Or if not used properly. Because a chip can migrate so just checking the most likely spot isn’t enough. I wish you good fortune in your endeavor. People are getting their pets mc’d more frequently. It would be wonderful if every shelter scanned every animal properly before killing them.

    • Thank you, I am sorry your shelter was not cooperative. It seems ridiculous to let animals die when they could have belonged to someone. I did not know that the chip could move- thank you for that information. This law would be for all shelters, animal control and vet clinics.

    • If you don’t know of a law then there probably isn’t one. I wish it could be everywhere- maybe someday.

  4. No law in Virginia requiring chipping. I really don’t know how much a scanner costs but it seems like it shouldn’t be SO expensive that it’s not a “normal” piece of equipment as so many DO chip whether it’s required or not. Such a shame when things like what happened to your friend occur. Heartbreaking. I’m glad your representative took the time to talk to you about it – that says a LOT about him. As for Joanie – I can’t blame her for wanting to snooze instead of showing off her tummy!

    Good luck with your very worthwhile project…..I have no idea what kinds of rules apply in Europe either……..Hugs, Pam (and Sam)

    • Thank you, I am lucky the rep. is so cooperative and believes this should be a law. I asked my niece and scanners are only around $200 so all places should be able to afford that. Joanie was very comfy.:)

  5. I wish you well in your efforts to change the laws of your state. The questions of Va having already been answered, back in 2009 when I moved to Georgia I asked my then vet to microchip the cats and she didn’t do it. I was secretly terrified the whole move that the cats would escape mid-move but thankfully all arrived and came home safely. The shelters in my area all mc before adoption but it does no good if the animal control folk’s don’t use scanners. I will call today and find out!! Thanks for bringing such a terrifying story back to light!

    • That is odd that she wouldn’t microchip them. I am glad you move went well, but I understand your fear. Thank you for checking in your state. The scanners are affordable and it only takes a few minutes to check so there is no reason why they shouldn’t do it. XO

  6. I plan on doing more digging on this, but as far as I know Illinois does not have any laws requiring microchips or requiring microchip scans. However, I do know that some of our local shelters/rescues require a microchip be placed in an animal prior to, or immediately following, adoption. Of course this isn’t “law”, but I’m glad they’re doing something as close to it as they can.

    I used to work in a vet’s office, and as far as I know they are almost always placed between the shoulder blades or somewhere in that general region. However, I have known there to be a rare occasion when the microchips can migrate after being placed. We had a scanner at the vet’s office, and it picked up on the microchips pretty quickly. Although we scanned most chips still near their original location around the shoulder blades, a couple of times they had migrated farther down the back or side.

    I remember at least one instance when a lady found a lost cat and brought it into the clinic where I worked. We scanned it, found a microchip, got the chip’s information, and in that way the kitty found its way back home! I hope that this can be the case for so many more kitties.

    Thank you for being such a great person and doing this, Ellen!

    • Thank you for answering so many of my questions. And thank you for looking into it further I hope the idea spreads and becomes law all over the US. So many pets would be saved this way. Most places near me provide microchips which is a great idea, but we need everyone on board with checking for them or they are useless. Thank you for the compliment, you are very kind.

  7. I talked to both my vets’ offices. They scan, but do not think it is the law in Ohio. They don’t realy know because they routinely just do it. The only cat shelters in Medina County (OH) are no kill so I can venture they all scan too.
    They usually use a universal scanner, because all chips are not the same.
    The chip can “migrate” so the vets I use move the scanner around the area between the shoulder blades – sometimes down the sides too.
    It’s all Ohio can do to have anti-abuse laws, so I can guarantee there is no law requiring chipping.
    Home Again wants you to renew every yer but they still keep the info even if you do not pay the fee for upkeep, so a scan would have your info.

    • Thank you for checking with your vet offices. I wonder if all scanners now are universal? So much to research. It sounds like your vets are really good about scanning, i wish everyone else was which is why it needs to be a law. Thanks again.

  8. It is not the law in WI. I know chips can migrate, but am not sure to what degree. Wish I could offer more help.

    • Thank you for letting me know there is no law in WI- I hope it will be law everywhere eventually. I was hoping some state had it because then a lot of the work would already have been done.

  9. we don’t know of any state that “requires” microchips.

    However, if a group is implanting chips (and most do anymore), they should already HAVE a scanner as common practice is to scan first, implant, then scan again. As to maintenance, the dumb things don’t really break that often unless something happens to them….in which case they need batteries.

    Chips can migrate which is why you should see places scan side to side and front to back. Ivy’s chip was implanted when she was little and is now actually over one shoulder blade. As for how quickly it picks up the chip, it is instantly.

  10. Gosh, this is really a problem! Sure, folks are getting their animal friends microchipped, but if no one is gonna check for it, then what the hey! It boggles my mind. There is no ordinance or law around me regarding microchipping, although most of the rescues and shelters recommend it AND scan for them too.

    • Thank you, I am glad the shelters scan, but we need the vets to do it too so the law I am proposing would be for both to scan as well as animal control.

  11. Here in the UK all vet Practices have Microchip scanners because of the new law requiring all dogs over 8 weeks old have to be Microchipped and because we have the pet passport for taking your pet to the EU.And as I am aware for surgical and euthanizing and stray animals most vets will scan to check for a microchip as standard practice.Also most vets would not euthanize a healthy cat in a case like this they would take the cat and it would be checked out and scanned to see if it was chipped and then rehome it,this is my experience with all the practices in my area of the UK,xx Rachel

    • Thank you, most vets here wouldn’t euthanize a healthy cat, but my friends cat had gotten out and was grabbed by a neighbor thinking it was her cat. When he attacked her dog, she thought he was rabid and brought him to the vet saying he was her cat ( which she thought he was) and they had no reason not to believe her. XO

  12. It is not currently law for cats to be micro-chipped in the UK. Our vet routinely scans all animals brought in as lost and never euthanises unless it is unavoidable and the only humane option.
    That is a very sweet picture of Joanie.

  13. I don’t think that there is a law in FL, no there isn’t because I would I’m sure have been told at the Vet’s office. I am one who likes less government intrusion, so to me making this a law isn’t the solution. Plus, I can also see how it may be a burden for some people with the costs. I support microchips, but I do feel it should be voluntary.

    • I can see why you want less government intrusion. The law I want is not for all cats to be microchipped, it is just for all shelters and vets to scan for a chip prior to euthanasia.

  14. Nellie’s Mom, up here in Canada. One thing people do not realize is the US vets and shelters use different chips than in Canada (and the EU). Our vet’s scanner in Grand Forks, BC will indicate a US chip is there is a chip there, but can not read it, because some scanners are calibrated to make that indication. Many US scanners are not. So if you take a Canadian chipped cat or dog over the border, if the vet or shelter does do the scan, the chip may not “appear” in the scan. Many people who do lots of cross border traveling get their pets chipped in the US, “just in case”. An yes, up here, many vets don’t scan, however most shelters do. My sister’s stolen cat was returned to her 4 years later because it was chipped.
    Kisses
    Nellie’s Mom

    • Thank you, that is one of the things my rep. wanted to know. .I need to find out if a universal scanner would pick up all chips and the cost of those. I am glad your sister got her cat back- sorry it took so long though. XO

  15. I think all animals should have a microchip even indoor animals. These animals could get outside due to many circumstances and put in a shelter. And I’d be devastated to not get my living pet back.

    • I agree and I hope that does become law. The law I want right now is for the vets and shelters to scan. My friend’s cat was indoor only and had a microchip, but was euthanized when a neighbor mistook him for her own cat- if this law were in place and they had scanned, this would not have happened.

  16. guys….we dunno bout de “state” but de shelter we came frum; puts micro chipz in all animals bee for they leeve with ther adopted peepulz….it bee ther policee ~~~~ we were injected in bee tween R shoulder blades & we got paperz de food servizz gurl had ta fill out ta send two de chip companee, plus her haza record of de chip date & number

    • Thank you for your input. Joanie and Sammy came microchipped too- one of these days I need to do the other 11. XO

  17. Every vet practice we’ve ever been to has had a scanner, and has always scanned our microchips at our first visit. The humane societies we are familiar with, in the places we’ve lived in Canada at least, all have scanners as well.

    Dragonheart thanks you for the good luck wishes. Sadly he has to return to the vet tomorrow, but has some good pain meds in the meantime.

    • Poor Dragonheart, I hope his tooth fairy gift arrived to make him feel better. I am glad your vet is smart enough to scan.

  18. Oh me cats awnty Ellen, dat foto of Joanie is da cutest stinkin’ foto we’s seen. 🙂

    Now, when ya’ start talkin’ ’bout micro chips and furcin’ peeps to get ’em, ya’ start talkin’ ’bout things dat could be a hardship fur peeps like da poor and homeless. And purrlease don’t say dat those peeps shouldn’t have pets then cuz dat’s what a many a VET has told mommy when she couldn’t afford some astronomical fee fur some test or somethin’. Anyways, so no, da state of Oklahoma doesn’t require all pets to be micro chipped and altho’ mommy has had it done to all her kitties, she wouldn’t have wanted to be furced too. She lived in an apartment once dat required all cats be declawed, so we do need to be careful ’bout requirements. We do ‘member your furiend and how pawful dat was and we fur sure wouldn’t want it to happen again. Ifin a law existed dat cat wouldn’t have been killed, but what about da kitty dat isn’t micro chipped? And yes, micro chips can migrate a bit, but not usually too far from it’s place of origin. Me’s chip has moved a bit, but still scans within’ seconds of a pass over me’s back. Mommy had it checked recently. Most vets do have scanners, but all they get when they scan is a nummer. They then have to contact da company to find out who is da owner of dat animal and hope dat da infurmation is up to date and true. Mommy checks our micro chip info. every 6 months, but a lot of peeps never do anythin’ after da initial set up. Have you changed vets? Has any of your emergency contacts moved, died, or changed? Lots of time peeps don’t update, so da micro chip, even ifin mandatory is only7 as good as da owner of da animal. Mommy says dat when it was sis Lexi’s time, da last thing she would have wanted was some VET scannin’ and then in and out of da room a dozen times tryin’ to confurm her ownership and upsettin’ an already tired and sick Lexi befur she could go to heaven. We think dat maybe a better approach would have been holding da kitty in quarantine fur a couple days to ensure da owner didn’t show signs of rabies. Durin’ dat time of course da mistake would have been noticed and could have been rectified. We say this cuz ifin we ‘member right, da cat bit or scratched and dat’s why she did this.?? /We think maybe instead of furcing a micro chip scan, specially since not all animals are chipped, a mandatory hold fur 24-48 hours should be required befur an otherwise healthy animal is killed. Purrhaps da hold could be in da VETs office at da owners expense, or da owner could take da animal home and reconsider. Again, this would have purrvented da death of this poor kitty. We can’t really help ya’ except to offer alternatives and maybe views you hadn’t thought about. But quite frankly we’re tired of da government bein’ all up in our business, so da last thing we want is another law tellin’ us one more thing we gotta do. (we’re renewin’ our lease right now and so we’re really tense. Seems everypawdy’s all in everything we do. They purretty much need to know when mommy poops, so maybe dat’s also slantin’ our opinio right now.) Sendin’ purrayers.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi

    • I understand why you don’t think microchips should be forced on people, but I just want a simple scan done. After bringing Lucy in for her final visit, I know I would not have gotten mad if told it needed to be done because of a law and it is to protect cats. I agree with you about the rabies hold and in my state it needs to be changed too, but I can only do one law at a time. That woman had a choice to take the cat home, but she was afraid it would attack her dog again, the vet would have held him at no cost, but she was so upset about how he acted that she panicked and said to put him down ( as supposed owner, it was her choice). XO

  19. We do remember sweet Reggie…I still hurts to think of what pain this caused his mom.
    We don’t have any info to share
    Thank you for your sweet compliment on my header yes it is new…
    Hugs madi your bfff

    • Thank you, I think the story of Reggie is one of the saddest thing I ever heard of. I am glad I noticed your header. 🙂

  20. That’s a good question! We don’t know if a microchip is required in NY, but we’re chipped. Mommy hopes the chips would be scanned if we ever got lost. It’s a scary thought that they wouldn’t be.

  21. I agree with so many here how wonderful it is that you are trying to help your friend through your blog. It’s very nice of you to do this. I’ve lived in PA for just a few years and I don’t know if there are any laws about this but I kind of don’t think so. I hope you’re able to get better help than I am. When we lived in Texas, I found a dog and brought him to our vet. The first thing they insisted on (it may have been the law actually) was scanning him. They found his owner that way. Oh, now that I think about it, when we lived here in PA before (around 2009), my husband found a kitty in a field. He brought him home and we brought him to the vet the next day. The vet also insisted on scanning on him but there was no way I was going to let him go to an owner since it was obvious he was not well taken care of. Fortunately for us he didn’t have a chip and we had him for several months before he passed away. I loved him so much.

    Joanie looks so darn cute!

    • I am sorry that kitty only lived for months instead of years. I am sure it was happy to be loved by you though. Scanning is so important because microchips are useless without a scan. Joanie says thank you. She is a cutie 🙂

  22. I don’t know if there is a requirement here in Washington or not…I guess I better check!
    Thanks for the informative post.

    Noodle and crew

    • Thank you for this information. You are the first I have heard in the US of a law to microchip. This is going to be very helpful- thank you.

  23. I don’t know if it is require or not, but most vets and rescues in my area (Raleigh-Durham North Carolina) have scanners. I have taken strays to various vets and they have been able to scan for a chip. If I am remembering correctly, when I worked in rescue we had a couple of scanners donated by the manufacturer of the chips if we used their brand. Most rescues in this area chip automatically.

    My boys are chipped and have been for several years. While the chips can migrate, theirs have stayed in place, right behind the shoulder blades. Tanner has had his for at least 10 years now. I have them scanned at their annual vet visits just to made sure they are still working.

    • Thank you for your input. I never thought to have them checked to be sure they are in place and work- that is a great idea. Joanie and Sammy have them ( I plan to get everyone done eventually).

  24. It wouldn’t bother me at all if they had to scan an animal. I had to euthanize a cat recently for a fatal disease and my wife and I were torn up by this. I certainly support anything that could stop an error from being committed.

    • I am so sorry for your loss, it is hard to make that choice to euthanize, but as pet parents we know when it needs to be done and it is done out of love.

    • Thank you!!! I just glanced at the page, but I can see it is going to be very helpful. I appreciate your taking the time to find that for me. XO

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