The following text was provided by the Massachusetts Animal Coalition:
In an effort to help bring lost pets home, Senator Patricia Jehlen, along with representatives from the Massachusetts Animal Coalition (MAC), presented a microchip scanner to Animal Control Officer Jay Donovan.
About the size of a grain of rice, microchips have been implanted in animals for years and offer a permanent unique registration number than cannot be altered or removed. Starting in November, animal control officers (ACOs) in Massachusetts will be required to scan stray animals for a microchip as part of a new law that updates many of the state’s animal control statutes. “We think this is a perfect opportunity to highlight the importance of microchipping. We believe more pets will be reunited with their families and in a more reliable, faster and efficient manner,” states bill sponsor Patricia Jehlen.
“I am grateful for this scanner. It will help me with the work that I do. I thank MAC for donating it and appreciate the dedication of Senator Jehlen for sponsoring the bill,” notes ACO Donovan.
HomeAgain is one of several companies offering microchips and scanners. Owners register their pets on a central database and, if the animal is lost, a veterinarian, shelter or animal control department representative can scan the animal. Once the chip is detected, they can contact the microchip company and obtain the owner’s information. The donated scanners are able to read chips manufactured by other companies, in addition to its own.
In addition to the requirement to scan for microchips, the new law creates a statewide Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund with income generated by a voluntary donation option on state income tax forms starting next tax season. This Fund will be used to help fund spay/neuter programs, vaccinations, and the training of ACOs. The new law also strengthens dangerous dog laws, allows animals to be included in orders of protection in domestic violence cases, requires euthanasia of stray dogs and cats only with barbiturates to ensure the process is humane, changes the term “dog officer” to “animal control officer” to reflect that many ACOs work with cats and wildlife, and provides a number of other updates to outdated animals control laws.
The scanner donation is made possible by the MAC disaster fund and a grant from Hopkinton Drug. MAC plans to donate dozens of scanners to ACOs across the state.
About the Massachusetts Animal Coalition
Founded in 2000, The Massachusetts Animal Coalition (MAC) is a statewide, non-profit organization comprised of animal professionals and individual volunteers dedicated to working together to decrease the number of homeless, neglected, displaced and abused animals in Massachusetts. MAC accomplishes this goal by promoting collaboration and respect within this group, providing ongoing education programs, and encouraging responsible and humane animal care practices. Their MA “I’m Animal Friendly” license plate program has distributed funds to thousands of shelters. For more information on MAC, please call 978-779-9880 or visit www.massanimalcoalition.org. A section on lost pets can be found at: http://www.massanimalcoalition.com/resources/lost-and-found-resources.html