Wednesday, March 4, 2009

San Marcos headed toward repealing microchip mandate

San Marcos headed toward repealing microchip mandate

A chanting crowd outside San Marcos City Hall of what organizers estimate to be about 300 people learned this evening that the city council appears to be headed toward repealing a mandate that would require cats and dogs to be microchipped by April 1.

For the past 30 minutes, City Council members have heard from several citizens, including two former candidates for public office, who oppose the city’s mandatory microchipping law for dogs and cats, which the council approved in December and will go into effect in April.

Citizens brought up questions about safety of the microchips, which are injected in animals for identification purposes, and about the mandate overstepping city government’s reach.

Council members discussed the ordinance tonight at the previous request of citizens who wanted more public discussion about the law. The council directed the city’s animal services board to come up with possible changes and hold two public hearings on new rules.

“I believe we are all in favor of options of microchipping, not mandates,” Mayor Susan Narvaiz said.

The city council and animal control officials have said they wanted microchipping to be mandatory to decrease the city shelter’s high euthanasia rate. Seventy-five percent of animals that come in to the shelter are put down.

The mandatory microchipping is part of a larger ordinance that provides for feral cat trap, neuter and release programs, prohibits selling of animals by illicit breeders on the roads and stricter policies on tethers and fences for dogs.