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

July 23rd, 2009
Chip law proposal could range beyond city

Protesters came from the dog park to City Hall in March to protest a mandatory microchip registration law in San Marcos this past march. Photo by Andy Sevilla.

Executive Editor

A potential change in the animal enforcement code for San Marcos figures to have impacts in Kyle and in unincorporated areas of Hays County, as well.

More directly, dogs and cats in Kyle and unincorporated Hays County could soon wind up with mandatory microchip registration, even though neither Kyle nor Hays County provide for microchipping in their animal control ordinances.

The scenario emerges because Kyle and Hays County each contract for animal control services with the San Marcos animal shelter, the policies for which are set by the City of San Marcos. As it happens, San Marcos is once again about to consider mandatory microchip registration of pets, though under special circumstances.  The measure would apply to animals that have been brought to the shelter for a second time.

The animal services advisory board in San Marcos reprised the issue of pet microchipping Wedenesday night with a public hearing on the potential revisions to the city’s animal control ordinance.

San Marcos took center stage in the national controversy about microchipping during the spring, after the city council passed mandatory microchip identification for pet dogs and cats last December. Citizens objected, turning out 300 to a March city council meeting before the council relented and asked the animal board to bring back a recommendation for voluntary microchipping.

The board brought back that recommendation, council enacted it and, four months later, the animal board is coming back with a new approach to microchipping, the ramifications of which go well beyond San Marcos.

The expunged legislation calling for mandatory microchipping across the board applied only to San Marcos, in effect, because it would be up to San Marcos animal control officers to enforce it. But the new measure would apply to any pet brought to the animal shelter, which takes pets from Kyle and unincorporated Hays County because the City of Kyle and Hays County contract with the city animal shelter for their sheltering needs.

Kyle and Hays County each has a representative on the animal services advisory board in San Marcos by virtue of those contracts. Kyle CIty Councilmember David Salazar, the Kyle representative on the San Marcos animal board, chaired Wednesday night’s meeting.

San Marcos Assistant Director of Community Services Mark Brinkley and Animal Services Director Bert Stratemann confirmed Wednesday night that the proposed policy would apply to any animal that winds up in the shelter for the second time, regardless of the animal’s residence.

Stratemann said that though Kyle and doesn’t require microchipping, its agreement with the San Marcos animal shelter provides that it abide by the animal shelter’s policies, even though that policy might be set by the San Marcos city government.

Salazar said he expects to bring the matter before the Kyle City Council for discussion, though he didn’t indicate that he would advocate for Kyle to institute a pet microchipping policy.

Only three people showed up for Wednesday night’s public hearing on pet microchipping – San Marcos City Council candidate Lisa Marie Coppoletta, her husband (Daniel Scales) and her campaign manager (Griffin Spell).

Coppoletta spoke passionately against the proposal, wondering aloud why the animal services board would bring up microchipping when the citizens and the city council have said they don’t want it.

“I believe, in March, our citizens resoundingly told our city council that we oppose mandatory microchipping for our pets,” Coppoletta said. ” … I am perplexed why you would ask for a public hearing when we’ve already told you what we think.”

Coppoletta added that the animal board is being “paternalistic” instead of listening to the people, that the animal board has not followed up on education measures promised during the microchip debate this spring and that a lack of transparency characterizes the board’s documentation.

Coppoletta told the board that if the proposal makes it to city council, the 300 protesters in March will be considerably exceeded by the next protest at City Hall. Furthermore, Coppoletta added, she will make numerous open records requests in an attempt to find out what’s really motivating the board’s persistence on the microchipping issue.

Spell also spoke against microchipping, saying that if the board forwards the question to city council, “All you’ll end up doing is embarrassing this board and getting us back on TV.”

In addition to the two citizens who commented on microchipping Wednesday night, Stratemann said the board has received two emails on the matter from citizens. Stratemann said both emails were in favor of the latest microchipping measure.

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20 thoughts on “Chip law proposal could range beyond city

  1. Let’s see, two emails versus 100’s of protesters. The board should explain really why they are bringing this back up again.

  2. I am for the microchipping, it’s for the best for our city and for our pets. I hope that Mrs. Coppoletta runs her campaign on more than just dog tags.

    On a different note- the last paragraph of this article is strange.

  3. How is this going to cut down on animals in the shelter?

    If the animal has been there before, then they must already know the owner and should have no problem returning it. If they don’t know whether or not then they should keep on the safe side and not chip. I’m afraid that what I consider the safe side is not the same viewpoint they’ll share at the shelter.

    Any rational person with no opinion in the matter could tell that only on a case by case basis do animals need chips. Most remain in collars. Those who don’t should get special mention and maybe a picture in their file along with the owner’s phone number. Those things cost nothing with digital photos and records these days.

    A chip would be an invasive, expensive, lazy and overall ineffective way to pretty much keep an owner’s phone number handy. If animal services really was in the business of bringing animals home from where ever they are found I’d still argue that they could just call the shelter with a neighborhood and description of the animal. That they want so badly those little beads under the skin of animals is really making mine crawl.

    Imagine – your child misses the bus two or more times…

  4. It appears the City Council of San Marcos is once again taking us deeper into the status of the Nanny State like England. I know many people are in favor of this because for them convenience trumps issues of health and freedom, but I do not see how this will solve anything. It is perplexing to see the focus on mircochiping when so many gathered in March in opposition to it. I almost believe that the chip manufacturer must be bribing someone, or these people love being on the other end of angry citizen protests…I can’t tell yet, but you better believe I will be at the next protest to kill yet another stupid law from the Nanny State enablers.

  5. Those of you who think that an animal having been at the shelter twice before means that the staff knows the animal clearly have no idea of the volume of animals the shelter deals with. Your black lab or brown tabby may look special to you but there are several hundred of them at the shelter in an average year. A few problem cases or unique breeds, they may know but generally speaking it isn’t until someone shows up to reclaim the animal, they can then determine if it is a repeat offender.

    It will reduce the amount of time that a pet stays at the shelter since the owners can be contacted sooner and it means that many of those repeat offenders can be returned to their owners without being taken to the shelter in the first place. The animal control officers carry portable chip scanners.

    And if you don’t want your pets microchipped under this law, there is an easy way to avoid it. Keep them on a leash or in your yard where they lawfully belong. Next thing you know you will be crying that being fingerprinted and photographed for robbing banks is a violation of privacy.

  6. Why the rush to require implanting chips into pets if the main goal is to speed up the return of those pets to repeat offenders … two emails versus 100’s of protesters, sounds like a few people want to force their will onto everybody else.

  7. Read the article carefully.

    The 100’s of protesters were in response to mandatory microchipping of all pets in the city limits.

    The issue being discussed at this meeting of the animal shelter advisory board was mandatory microchipping on 2nd impound – an issue that affects a small number of pets and owners.

    For this issue, there were 3 people at the meeting to comment and 2 people who sent emails.

  8. If our “Animal Services Advisory Board” continues to push for any form of mandatory chipping of our pets, you can probably count on 100’s of protesters showing up again. Again, not sure why the rush to require implanting chips into pets, especially if the main goal is to speed up the return of those pets to repeat offenders. If we have a lot of “repeat offender” issues, it is the owners that need inducements to behave properly.

  9. This is ridiculous. I want to know who is going to get the contract to do this microchipping crap. Maybe it’s time to follow the money.

  10. Our mayor, the city council, and other various boards that we employ to administer this city have shown on multiple occasions in just this last year that they have no interest in serving the public. Instead, they have shown themselves to be pursuing the interests of out-of-town developers, exploiters of low wage workers, and now purveyors of unnecessary and expensive technology.

    We all know the story of how city just ignored public outcry by rewriting the Springtown deal recently. Now it seems microchipping is being rinsed and repeated as well.

    It is my opinion that our current city government is not only incapable of representing the citizens of San Marcos, but worse, they are purposefully and maliciously seeking to work against us.

  11. Pets that can be identified go home alive. Only 12% pets were reclaimed last year of the 5771 which came to San Marcos Animal Services. They are usually not identified with collars and tags.

    The technology to return a living pet to caring owners is very affordable. The cost of not returning the pet – usually costs the pet its LIFE if not reclaimed in time.

    I consider my past board membership a serious matter; I am very interested in serving the public and their pets.

    Help them by considering why a pet is impounded more than once; they are not an issue about municipal authorities or political gain. They deserve our responsible care.

  12. By all means, follow the money trail. Microchipping an animal costs the shelter $10. Euthanizing and disposing of the body costs between $150-175.

  13. Micro-chipping is big business these days, same as those RFID tags you find in products worldwide.

    A friend of mine once worked for one of these animal micro-ochipping companies and the goal for them was certainly expanding this ID tool to every application imaginable.

    It is not paranoia to assume that these companies want to chip humans, this is actually the stated goal in their business plans.

    These companies are behind the effort to chip all farm animals and to do the same with people who find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

    People whose skin crawls at the thought of having a chip implanted have my sympathy…mine is crawling right now.

    Google it, you will be amazed.

    Yes, who has the contract?

  14. Sounds like the real problem is abandoned pets. If only 12% of the collected pets are reclaimed, doesn’t that mean the other 88% of these pets had owners who didn’t care enough to come get them? Sounds like they were abandoned, and the answer then is not mandatory chipping.

  15. If the owner is too stupid to to realize their dog is missing and to look for it at the shelter they need not own one.

    If the collar is a problem suggest a microchip to the owner (see the difference?) – same price as a new collar and tags but a one-time investment.

    To chip a collared dog is redundant, expensive and cruel.

  16. “For this issue, there were 3 people at the meeting to comment and 2 people who sent emails.”

    We didn’t know about it. We do now.

    “The 100’s of protesters were in response to mandatory microchipping of all pets in the city limits.”

    No. They’re in response to the massive police state apparatus manifesting itself in myriad ways (cameras, DHS “fusion centers”, massive government wiretaps, NAIS, etc, etc). Expect a huge fight in TX against EACH AND EVERY MANIFESTATION of this Orwellian incremental creep.

  17. “The technology to return a living pet to caring owners is very affordable.”

    Yep, it’s called a “dog collar”. Been around for, what, a century?


  18. If your pet is picked up twice and taken to the pound, then maybe the owner should be given a choice of either paying a fine or paying for a micro-chip. The key word here is choice, as it has been all along.

    In today’s world, you have to pick your battles, as there is so much wrong doing that fighting all of the time would bring on a very negative way of existing. We’ve already fought against this once. The fact that this has been brought up by council again, so soon, is very, very suspicious. Maybe they are counting on people to be tired of fighting this battle and think that it will be a push-over this time?
    Btw – thanks to Lisa for hanging in there on this issue fur us….I mean for us….

  19. What a bunch of communists on the council and animal control board, making ‘policies’ for themselves, and trying to bring the whole county under them as ‘law’… for the good of the ‘greatest number’.

    How DARE you try again and again to do what you were implicitly told NOT to do. But, since you insist on misbehaving… I have a better idea. Why not have the city council pass mandatory chipping requirements for just those “in favor” people, but exempt their animals. Looks like there will only be about 4 or so first ‘volunteers’, according to the last paragraph in the article… not counting the people on the city council and on the board of the animal control center who should also ‘volunteer’.

    The rest of us, will keep an eye on YOU and all your personal and financial information every where you go, and if you come back with this nonsense a ‘second time’, I believe that the ‘latest’ chips are capable of sending tazer-like jolts to help you stay away from those seemingly ‘altruistic’, anti-freedom thoughts you incessantly crave.

    “In all very numerous assemblies, of whatever character composed, passion never fails to wrest the sceptre from reason. … Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.” –Federalist No. 55, February 15, 1788

    “Any excuse is a good one for a tyrant.” Andrew Jackson

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