Brownsville Pet Owners Required to Microchip their Animals
BROWNSVILLE – The city of Brownsville passed an ordinance that will require pet owners to microchip their cats and dogs starting next year.
Brownsville Animal Shelter supervisor Nelly Zamora said they are currently hosting more than 200 dogs and cats. She said more than half of them aren’t microchipped.
“We do have animals on a daily bases that come in without microchip, without a collar, without a tag and we basically have nowhere to start looking for the owner,” she said.
Brownsville city commissioners passed the ordinance early September. The change comes with a fee, per pet, that people must pay out of pocket.
Zamora said the lack of identification is creating overcrowding conditions at the shelter, which also leads to daily euthanizations. She said animals only have guaranteed 72 hours left to live as ordered by state law.
The shelter said about 3,000 cats and dogs are put to sleep each year.
“The mentality hasn’t changed much in the past 10 years. A lot of people see it as just an animal, a yard dog… They don’t see the care involved in owning a pet. Part of it is microchipping their pet,” Zamora said.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke to several pet owners. Many of them said they didn’t know they could soon be breaking a city ordinance.
Brownsville resident Cruz Terran has three dogs. She said she’ll have to pay out of pocket to get them microchipped or risk getting a $250 citation.
Others said even though it seems like a good idea, they admitted they’re likely not going to get it done. Lizzeth Torres said the city is overstepping its boundaries by forcing residents to microchip their pets. She’s skeptical people will comply.
“Whether it’s because of the money or because you just don’t want to take the dog, my dog is not that big, but he’s rough. So, you think twice about it,” she said.
Torres said she doubts the move will make pet owners more responsible.
The animal shelter will offer pet microchipping for $5 starting Jan. 9. It will be offered on Mondays on a walk-in basis.
We reached out to three different veterinary clinics in Brownsville. The prices for microchipping pets with a vet range from $59 to $66.
Zamora said the chip is placed on a cat or dog’s neck. She said the small-sized microchip is administered like a vaccination and causes minimal discomfort for the animal.
Each microchip is scanned and provides a serial number, unique to each pet. The owner’s name and contact information will then be added to a national database system to help find a lost pet.
Staff at the Brownsville animal shelter said they were able to reunite two dogs with their Florida owners with the help of a microchip two years ago.
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