by Tyler Clifford
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
INGHAM COUNTY — Following the British government’s approval of a law that requires all dogs to have a microchip, Ingham County residents are at odds with a considering a similar mandate in their community.
Last week, the United Kingdom passed a law requiring all dog owners to microchip their pets by 2016. The British government expects the mandate to help reunite owners when their pet goes missing, to promote animal welfare, assist animal shelters, and prevent violent dogs from running rampant.
Lansing resident dog owner Jayme Dorson believes it is a useful plan, but thinks it is not the best solution to animal control. She is concerned with the effect that microchipping would have on dog owner’s attention.
“It would make pet owners more careless with their pets,” Dorson said Monday. “They can just let them run free and simply track them down.”
Lansing resident and dog lover Cathy Baker said each time her husky has ran away, she found him at the Ingham County Animal Control shelter. Because of this, she has been volunteering at county shelters for over five years.
“Microchipping is a perfect idea because if each of these dogs were chipped, they would be home and violent owners would be held accountable,” Baker said Tuesday.
Ingham County animal shelters take in more than 5,000 animals every year including cats, dogs, rabbits, rats and snakes. Many become adoptable to the public.
Of the 5,000 animals brought in to shelters, about 40 percent are dogs. There are about 200 dogs currently housed in county animal shelters and this number typically rises during the summer months, according to the Ingham County Animal Control website.
The animal shelters provide pet adoption, a dog food bank, licensing, and vaccinations on the first Friday of every month. There are 19 dogs and 54 cats that are currently adoptable in county shelters, according to the county adoption website.
Each microchip is assigned a unique number and embedded into the dog’s skin between its shoulder blades.
“The chip is inserted right into the shoulder and is painless,” Baker said. “ I’ve seen lots of dogs get microchipped.”
The information is stored on a database accessible only authorized people such as local authority staff and veterinary practices.
A number of businesses offer microchipping services and the company can access the information. But if Ingham County orders the chipping, then the county will have the rights to access the information as well.
“I think Ingham County should look into the benefits of this and weigh the pros and cons,” said farm raised Allison James. “But I worry it may hurt them. I’d want to know what the chances for infection are, or if they can feel it all the time.”