Pet parents in Dallas, Texas are about to see a change in what’s considered to be responsible pet ownership.
The Dallas City Council voted on Wednesday to pass a law ordering mandatory microchips for dogs and cats and limited breeding. A department of Dallas Animal Services will enforce the new laws to ensure that pet owners comply.
The change is brought on in hopes of reducing the number of stray animals roaming city streets and to relieve pressure from overfilled shelters. Neighborhood residents frequently report dogs running freely between houses, and it’s not always clear whether the animals are pets that are allowed to roam free (which is, of course, irresponsible), or if they’re strays.
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Dallas Animal Services took in 2,400 loose dogs last month, and the shelter is nearly at capacity. The animals include puppies from unwanted litters, and many are pets that are unable to make it back to their owners. Dallas Animal Services posted on Facebook saying,
“We encourage pet owners to use a collar and ID tag, but tags can fall off or be removed…microchips are permanent and can make reunions with your lost pet faster, easier, and more likely.”
Identifying each animal with a microchip will help the shelter send lost dogs home, and breeding restrictions will prevent unwanted litters.
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If a pet owner wants to breed their dog or cat, they must pay $100 for an annual breeding permit. Female animals are limited to only one litter per year, and pet owners must be members of a purebred kennel club. Lawmakers hope to discourage backyard breeders and ensure everyone involved in breeding does it humanely and responsibly.
There will be at least a month-long grace period for pet owners to chip their animals and comply with the changes. Many Dallas residents qualify for free microchipping and spay/neuter surgeries. Those who don’t qualify can have their dogs and cats microchipped at the Dallas Animal Services main location for $15. The information on the chip should be updated regularly to give pets the best chance of staying safe at home and out of the shelter.