Pet microchip implants: low turnout for first city-wide campaign

Close to 1,000 pets were implanted with microchips on Sunday in a city-wide campaign to sensitise owners to the technology and to their obligation to have permits for their pets.

1,000 pet owners signed up, city hoped for 1,500

Veterinarian Christine Carle (right) checks if a dog already has a microchip implant before injecting it with one. (Radio-Canada)

Close to 1,000 pets were implanted with microchips on Sunday in a city-wide campaign to sensitise owners to the technology and to their obligation to have permits for their pets.

Twenty-eight veterinary clinics across 19 boroughs offered $20 for the microchip implant, instead of the usual $75, but only for those who have a pet permit.

The city had hoped to implant 1,500 pets.

Microchip implants are about the size of a grain of rice, and are recorded with the owner's information, which can be scanned with a radio device. They allow animals to be more quickly identified in a shelter in case they get lost or stolen, and can avoid unnecessary euthanization, the city said in a statement.

A microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, contains information about the pet and the owner's contact number. (Radio-Canada)

"I saw an ad in the paper that the city was doing this and signed up," said Souling Chan, who brought her 8-month old goldendoodle to get implanted. "It's an intelligent thing to do. If you love your dog, it's great."

A microchip needs to be implanted once in the animal's life.

According to the City of Montreal, only 14 per cent of dogs and 4 per cent of cats in the city have a valid permit.

Dog permits are mandatory in all 19 boroughs, and cat permits in 11 boroughs.

"There's probably a lack of awareness of why people should register their pets," said Christine Carle, veterinarian and owner of the Victoria animal clinic group. "It might be perceived as a tax that isn't good for anything. But it's for animal control," she said.

A dog gets injected with a microchip implant. (Radio-Canada)

Montreal pets by the numbers

  • 145,000: dog population
  • 330,000: cat population
  • 3,600: dogs admitted to a shelter in 2014
  • 13,400: cats admitted to a shelter in 2014
  • 7%: pets in a shelter that are reclaimed by the owner
  • 46%: pets in a shelter that are adopted
  • 47%: pets in a shelter that are put down

Source: City of Montreal

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