On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 573 by Senator Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) requiring shelters and animal control agencies to microchip all dogs and cats with current information before releasing them to adoptive owners or an owner seeking to reclaim them.
According to the bill, it would prohibit a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group from releasing a dog or cat to an owner seeking to reclaim it, or adopting out, selling, or giving away a dog or cat to a new owner, unless the dog or cat is or will be microchipped, as specified.
If the agency, shelter, or group does not have microchipping capability on location, the bill would require that the agency, shelter, or group make a good faith effort to locate available free or discounted regional microchipping services and provide that information to the owner or new owner. The bill would exempt from these microchipping requirements a dog or cat that is medically unfit for a microchipping procedure, or a dog or cat reclaimed or received by an owner who signs a form stating that the cost of microchipping would impose an economic hardship for the owner, as provided.
Under the bill, an agency, shelter, or group that violates these provisions on or after January 1, 2022, would be subject to a civil penalty of $100, except as specified.
More than 500,000 dogs and cats are brought into California shelters each year and more than half are euthanized. Only 15 percent of dogs and two percent of the cats in shelters without identification are ever reunited with their families.