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Could microchip mandate be repealed?

Pedro the black cat is tagged, but not microchipped. Photo by Andy Sevilla.

Associate Editor

After hearing from concerned citizens at its Wednesday meeting, the San Marcos Animal Shelter Advisory Board will consider possible alternatives to microchip pet registration at its next meeting, perhaps as a step towards rescinding the mandate that goes into effect on April 1.

The city council passed an animal control ordinance in December that mandates microchip pet registration of dogs and cats four months old or older. Since then, a public outcry has met city staffers at three public information sessions about the ordinance.

Board Member Chad Austin said the advisory board will hold a public hearing to allow for suggestions from the public regarding alternatives. He said board members are also expected to bring forth possible alternatives to the microchip mandate, along with research to address any concerns.

“We’ve heard a lot of concerns and questions,” Austin said. “Although I think microchipping is a great idea, our citizens want options and we’ve heard them loud and clear.”

Citizens in San Marcos and at the national level have weighed in for and against the pending mandate. Proponents say microchipping is the most effective way to be sure lost animals are returned to their owners, adding that the city should turn to other issues. Opponents are charged with worries about privacy, an over-reaching government, health risks, and moral objections.

“I’m thrilled from today’s meeting, and from phone conversations and email correspondence with our policy makers, they are willing to review Dr. Katherine Albrecht’s literature on microchips,” said Lisa Marie Coppoletta, who helped organize a protest against the microchip mandate and has announced her candidacy to the Place 5 city council seat.

City staff has vigorously advocated for the mandate, stating that it will reduce the unnecessary killing of animals at the shelter. However, protesters argue there is no real evidence of city staff’s confirmation, adding that many crucial concerns have not been adequately addressed.

Coppoletta said she is in favor of the animal control ordinance, but still wants to see an end to the mandate of microchipping dogs and cats.  She said efforts are in progress to have city council revisit the issue in its March 3 meeting, adding that Albrecht is scheduled to make an appearance at the meeting to offer expert testimony.

Albrecht is “a popular media commentator whose views have been featured in over 2,000 radio, television and print news stories,” according to her website. She is also author or so-Author of six books and videos, including the award-winning bestseller, Spychips: How major corporations and government plan to track your every move with RFID, and The Spychips Threat: Why Christians should resist RFID and electronic surveillance.

“I can’t say whether the mandate will be cancelled, as it’s not up to us, but to the city council,” Austin said. “But we’re definitely taking everything into consideration, openly to the public, and if need be we will make a new recommendation to the council. We want everyone to know that they do have a voice and it is being heard.”

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#1 Comment By joshua sasso On 02/12/2009 @ 5:49 pm

Great article!!!!….cute cat

#2 Comment By Rastasean On 02/12/2009 @ 6:12 pm

Why would the city council make this necessary? Leave it up to the owners of the animals–not four or five worthless city council people.

#3 Comment By John On 02/14/2009 @ 3:32 pm

Rastasean, there are efforts being done to get this matter back on the agenda. When it makes on there, I encourage you to make it to the citizen comment period and sign up. Our council needs to know how the citizens feel. Im not saying it will matter to them, but atleast you will go on the record that you made your point to them, and it will hopefully weigh in on their decision.

#4 Pingback By QUOTE CORNER : Newstreamz San Marcos On 02/15/2009 @ 2:19 am

[…] San Marcos Animal Advisory Board Member Chad Austin about the possibility that the board will offer a new recommendation on the matter of mandatory microchip registration for pet dogs and cats. – Read More >> […]

#5 Comment By Kenneth H On 02/18/2009 @ 5:27 pm

“and a ban against selling or giving away animals on public property, private parking lots and flea markets.”

I work for PawMatch, a registered 501c3, non profit, animal rescue shelter. We rescue animals from shelters across central Texas and since 2005 we have saved the lives of over 12,000 grateful animals. At present this ordinance does not differentiate between a puppy mill setup on the side of the road and a rescue organization such as PawMatch. The reason for our success is that we take our rescue dogs and cats out into the public, drawing attention to the overpopulation problem while working to solve it. I believe the intent of the ordinance is well placed, as it is intended to stop the illegal sale and breeding of pets within the city. As a rescue group, we are entirely behind that intent. However, as it stands, this ordinance will ban rescue groups such as PawMatch from functioning within the city, and in doing so condemn more innocent animals to euthanasia. Shelters such as the San Marcos shelter often exterminate nearly 3 out of 4 animals taken in. The animals we rescue from these shelters beat these odds only because we are there to take them. Our numbers speak for themselves. Bringing this issue out into the public works. We need people to understand the importance of spay/neuter initiatives to bring the animal birthrate numbers down. The following is an excerpt from an article published on Newstreamz.com on January 22nd, 2009. Written by Andy Sevilla, Associate Editor.

“Bert Stratemann, the city’s animal services manager, said the ordinance is fine as it stands, adding that he would have preferred an even more extensive ordinance.

“We’re showing we’re a progressive community that looks out for the welfare and cares about the animals that are in the community,” Stratemann said. “And a community that shows compassion and caring for the animals of the community really is a nice community.””

I have to disagree with Mr. Stratemann as I do not think this ordinance is fine as it stands, nor do I think it is, “progressive” to ban a non profit rescue group from saving the lives of innocent animals in your community.