Pedro the black cat is tagged, but not microchipped. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By ANDY SEVILLA
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.”