Pet owners in Montreal have until January 1 to have their cats and dogs over six months of age microchipped. Dogs and cats, as well as rabbits, must also be spayed/neutered by the same date.
SPCA spokesperson Anita Kapuscinska stated during an interview with Montreal Gazette
We think it’s wonderful. Microchips are one of the best ways to be able to find your companion animal in the event they’re lost or stolen. It’s recommended for anyone who has an animal at home, even if they don’t go outside; animals could get out through windows left open or during a move. One of the fastest and best ways to ensure an animal returns home is to have a microchip.
Together, the new ordinance should cut down on the number of lost cats who remain anonymous because they don’t have identification to alert a shelter or veterinarian of who owns the pet. Anita fully supports the new system as it’s a stressful time for anyone who loses a pet. A microchip allows them to be reunited with family as soon as they come into the shelter.
Owners may be asked for proof of ownership either in the form of an adoption contract or vaccination certificate when having a procedure done by the SPCA. If for some reason a pet cannot be microchipped or sterilized, a letter from a vet explaining why it’s considered a health risk will be required. Fines range from $300 to $600, $600 to $1,200 for a repeat offender and $1,200 to $2,000 for additional offenses.
For an extra $10 the SPCA will also engrave a tag for the pet. A microchip is still the best form of identification since collars and tags can be lost and in some cases prove dangerous, should it become snared (so always use a break-away collar). Microchip service can be done in 30-45 minutes (including registration) for $45 through the SPCA.
This is a step forward in reducing the population of unwanted pets as well as pets being euthanized once they enter the shelter system. It’s unfortunate but many owners wait several days waiting for their lost pet to return home or they trust in lost pet flyers.
Many pet owners don’t realize each state has mandatory hold times which sometimes expire before it even dawns on the owner to contact the shelter. In the case of cats, a good number have been returned to their family after becoming stowaways who end up far from home. Without a microchip it’s unlikely the cat and owner will ever be reunited.
A microchip is always going to be there. Note: have your veterinarian scan your pet during routine vet visits to ensure the chip hasn’t moved around inside the body. Not only will the chip help reunite pets, it should also cut back on the number of pets abandoned in the middle of nowhere because they can be traced back to the owner through the chip.
Hopefully, this ordinance will catch on in other areas. It’s inexpensive, it’s safe for most pets and it gives the pet owner peace of mind knowing they’ve done all they can to protect their pet, not only from unwanted litters, but in the event the pet escapes the house and needs help to get home.