LANCASTER—The Lancaster City Council recently voted that all pets in the city must be microchipped. The citywide mandatory microchip ordinance was approved by council in an effort to reduce the loose dog population.
Fabrice Kabona, ICMA, Assistant to the City Manager, City of Lancaster said, “The passage of this ordinance was the result of months of research by staff regarding the impact such law would have on the Lancaster residents and their quality of life.”
The item was presented to council at a work session, which led to consideration at a regular council meeting held in mid November.
The ordinance passed unanimously at that same meeting. Now residents are tasked with following the ordinance by making sure their animal is in compliance with the new law.
The ordinance will go into effect on February 19, 2018. At that time all dogs and cats four months and older must have microchip technology.
For those who do not know what it means to microchip your pet,it is defined in the ordinance as “an electronic device that is injected into an animal by means of a sterilized implanting device for purposes of identification and/or recovery of the animal by its owner or by local or other animal control authorities.”
Microchip services are being provided at the Lancaster Animal Shelter on a first come first served basis. The new ordinance includes a reduction in the existing microchip fee of $25 to $15 per animal.
Enforcement To Curb Stray Population
The city is offering a three-month grace period to allow pet owners to come into compliance. Around mid May of 2018, the ordinance will be enforceable with a citation.
During the grace period, there will be information events focused on the new ordinance and education regarding microchipping.
“The microchip verification will be included in the welfare check and adoption procedures,” Kabona explained. “All animals retrieved from the shelter will be microchipped prior to leaving the shelter back to their owners.”
The fine for residents who do not comply with the ordinance when issued a citation could be up to $500. Afterwhich it could be dismissed if proof of microchip is presented to the court within 20 days.
According to Kabona, the City of Lancaster has been experiencing an increasing loose dog issue. Roughly 15 percent of stray dogs caught by the City are reunited with their owners. Chiefly, the City aims to increase the return to owner rate and improve the quality of life in Lancaster.
“The City of Lancaster joins Texas cities such as Dallas, Waco, San Antonio and Odessa. [Who] have passed a similar ordinance,” Kabona concludes.