Wednesday, March 4, 2009

San Marcos to revisit pet microchipping Backlash created after controversial ordinance

San Marcos to revisit pet microchipping

Backlash created after controversial

Updated: Tuesday, 03 Mar 2009, 10:29 PM CST
Published : Tuesday, 03 Mar 2009, 12:02 PM CST

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) - The San Marcos City Council will revisit a controversial ordinance Tuesday night requiring all pet owners to microchip their dogs and cats.

The council, after hearing an outcry from San Marcos residents after passing the law in December, will discuss the item at its meeting Tuesday night.

The ordinance is part of a sweeping animal control measure that makes it a misdemeanor if a pet owner's dogs or cats are not implanted with a microchip.

Dr. Jeff Jorgenson, a local veterinarian, and chairman of the city's Animal Services Advisory Board said he has some ideas to change the ordinance.

"We're going to back off everybody having to microchip," he said. Jorgenson said those are solely his ideas, and stressed nothing is final yet until the city council makes a decision.

"This is never intended to be a policing thing," he said. "Our whole intent with the advisory committee initially is to prevent animals to get putting to sleep."

Mark Brinkley, Assistant Director of Community Services for Health and Animals said the council will make recommendations on what changes to make.

"It's highly possible that there will be some changes to the ordinance," he said. "With all the opposition to that, I'm sure that council is going to want us to make those changes. We'll be waiting to hear from them."

San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz said she is in favor of making the microchipping optional after hearing from citizens and originally voting for the ordinance.

"They want options, and that's where we're at today is to discuss what are we going to do now," said Narvaiz Tuesday.

The city council has heard many complaints from pet owners about the cost of microchipping. The cost ranges anywhere from $10 to $60 and owners can get their pets chipped at local veterinarian offices or at the city's animal shelter.

Others have complained that microchipping pets leads to increased cancer risks and also too much government control. "There's a real concern that the government mandating anything any living being be forced to receive a microchip," said Katherine Albrecht, an activist and radio show host that is opposed to the microchip ordinance.

"The decision whether to microchip a pet should be made by the pet owner," she said.

Others said microchipping is the best thing that's happened for their relationship with their pets. Christine Love said she lost her dog Terrell Monday night around 8 p.m. A client brought her dog into the Tickle Blagg Veterinary Clinic in San Marcos Tuesday morning and the vet scanned his microchip.

"Had he not been microchipped I may never have found him," she said.

The San Marcos City Council meeting to hear discussion on the revised pet ordinance is Tuesday Night at 6 p.m. at City Hall Chambers.