San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

March 4th, 2009
Council calls for voluntary chipping


After two months of public dissent, the San Marcos City Council ordered the city staff to send back an amended animal control ordinance making microchip registration of pet dogs and cats optional at Tuesday night’s meeting.

An ordinance passed in December providing for mandatory microchip registration, producing a public outcry that rippled onto the national scene. About 300 protesters from all over Texas appeared at City Hall Tuesday night as the council was to take up the matter for the first time since passing the ordinance.

The council ordered that the matter be sent back to the city’s animal shelter advisory board, which originally recommended the microchipping as part of a comprehensive animal control ordinance. The board has acknowledged in the past month a willingness to re-visit the microchipping issue.

No time table has been set for the matter to go back before the council, however, the new ordinance will go into effect on April 1 unless the council takes other action before then.

In another development, the council reversed a previous decision to turn back a request to re-zone 22.5 acres near Hunter Road and Wonder World Drive from commercial to multi-family. After the proposal failed by a 4-2 vote on Feb. 17, the council decided to approve the re-zoning Tuesday night by a 4-3 vote.

Pam Couch, who was absent from the Feb. 17 meeting, voted with Mayor Susan Narvaiz and Councilmember Kim Porterfield to approve the re-zoning. Councilmember Fred Terry, who voted against the re-zoning on Feb. 17, changed his mind Tuesday night, satisfied by revisions proposed by the developer.

The council also approved a “host responsibility” ordinance giving police officers greater discretion to break up parties due to noise after tabling the measure last month. A 6-1 majority carried the issue, with only Councilmember Chris Jones in opposition.

At Jones’ request, the council will consider forming criteria for defining a “prudent party host,” which would constitute a defense against prosecution. Jones, Porterfield and Councilmember John Thomaides will comprise the committee to develop that criteria.

Due to the length of the meeting, which began at 6 p.m. and finally adjourned at 11:45 p.m., the council tabled a discussion about the possibility of extending bar hours to 2 p.m. Voters overwhelmingly approved such a change in the November 2008 election.

Newstreamz will follow with more details.

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0 thoughts on “Council calls for voluntary chipping

  1. I would like to thank Katherine Albrecht for traveling all the way from New Hampshire to appear at this event. Gee Newstreamz, couldn’t you even get her name in the story?
    The lady is truly amazing. If you have not done so already google her and visit her website.

  2. Why does the pet chipping issue have to go back to the advisory board? Isn’t clear the citizens of San Marcos want this changed from mandatory to voluntary? It appears the mayor and council have a hard time making decisions without hiding behind some survey or other opinion. Or, do they only look for public input when it benefits their agenda, like asking the voters when the bars should close. What did they expect, a bunch of college voters would say they want the bars to close early? Why doesn’t the council ask the voters if they want to chip their pets like they did with the bar closing issue?

  3. Laws mandating the implantation of microchips capable of relaying information about who-knows-what to government agencies is something I’m opposed to on principles of privacy and individual liberty. Let’s stick with putting name tags (with contact information) on our animals. This technology has a high potential of being abused and should be used only when absolutely every concern with regards to individual privacy has been addresses to the satisfaction concerned citizens.

  4. Big Dog, the whole story has been much larger and much longer than Dr. Albrecht’s involvement. While she has done a lot to bring attention to the story outside of San Marcos – the citizens have been putting thousands of hours over the past few months into this issue. I am guessing she wasnt mentioned in the story because she was not the issue.

    Congratulations to all the people (inside and outside of San Marcos) who have worked to show that a few dedicated individuals still have the power to make a difference.

  5. Yea & Kudos to city council for their responsible decision. SUPER SHOUT OUT TO THE CITIZENS FOR BEING TRUE TO THE CONSTITUTION & BILL OF RIGHTS!

  6. I don’t believe the advisory board is going to make the microchipping mandatory. At this point, ( which I don;t know why it took so long), I believe that is a way to squash the issue. It is obvious it should be voluntary to the person who owns the pet. It would be a waste of time to bring that up again anytime soon. Thank you to the people that put their own time and energy into the issue. Thank you all for making your voices heard. I have confidence that the council will continue to listen to the people of this town and that future issues won’t be so time consuming. I wanted to note that while people in San Marcos may have their pets microchipped that it has been brought up thaqt local vets around here do not even use the technology anyways. Who knows??

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