Here’s some doggone good news for dog owners in Shenzhen. Authorities in the coastal city in southern China announced that all registered dogs in the city would be implanted with microchips for free. This will be used to help find lost dogs or determine ownership, among others.
The city’s Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau said that it plans to completed the implantation process by the end of the year. Dogs without microchips by next year will be classified as unlicensed dogs.
Shenzhen is the latest city in the country to implement the use of microchips to identify dogs. Other cities, like Hangzhou and Ningbo in eastern China and Chongqing in the southwest, and countries such as the U.K., Japan and Australia have similar measures in place.
The agency has already begun to roll out the process, setting up injection stations at partnering pet clinic across the city.
An easier way to identify your dogs
The microchip will serve as your dog’s identity card, once it’s implanted under the skin of the neck, says Yao Yue, director of the World Animal Protection’s canine program, in an interview with Global Times. While other identification methods—like tattoos and ear notching—exist, Yao says that microchips are the gold standard since it has the highest accuracy and can last the longest.
Local reports say that the microchip, which is roughly the size of a grain of rice, can last for at least 15 years after it’s implanted. When scanned, the microchip will reveal a unique 15-digit number revealing information on the dogs and their owners. These include the dog’s name and breed, as well as its owner’s identity and contact information. To protect user data, officials say that only authorized personnel with specialized equipment can access the information from the microchip. It also doesn’t track the dog’s location, and authorities do not store the owner’s personal information.
The microchip is covered with material on the surface that prevents slip-off and damage, and officials say that it has almost no effect on the dog’s health. The implanting process only takes a few seconds to complete and can be reversed at any time.
The agency believes that implanting dogs with microchips not only helps reduce strays but also reduces the amounts of injuries they cause. (Read: New motion capture tech allows your dog to be a video game character)
“The identification of dogs on an individual level will not only help track lost dogs but also hold the owners responsible for whatever they do to the dogs, such as abandoning, mistreating or intentionally hurting them. It offers real protection to dogs,” Yao added.
The city government will cover the bill for all microchip implants, as it looks to manage the city’s growing pet population. According to official government data, there are over 200,000 dogs and cats registered in the city alone, and a 2019 white paper revealed that the total number of dogs and cats in China is now nearly 1 billion—an 8.4% increase from 2018.
Baguio leading the way in microchip implants
In the Philippines, Baguio City is expected to start its mandatory registration of dogs November this year. According to city veterinarian Dr. Brigit Piok, the registration will cover dogs aged three months and above.
The registration (including the microchip implant) costs ₱300 per dog, and will include the pet owner’s name, address, contact information and a description of their dog. The issued registration certificate is permanent, except in cases of transfer of ownership. Owners who refuse to have their dogs registered, as well as those who let their dogs loose outside their premises, will face a ₱2,000-fine.