Target: Barbara Nelson, CEO of the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare
Goal: Mandate that dogs be microchipped in South Carolina so that they can be traced back to their owners
Barbara Nelson, the president and CEO of the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare recently spoke with a South Carolina Senate subcommittee in order to encourage the state to consider requiring microchipping for all dogs as well as the regulation of animal shelters and rescue organizations. The goal of such reform would be to reduce the amount of neglect and abuse that happens within shelters, which has become a growing concern across the country. Stronger animal shelter regulations would ensure the safety of dogs throughout South Carolina who need nothing less than our protection.
“Any animal that is picked up as a stray and goes through a shelter, by state law, cannot be returned to the owner unless it is microchipped,” Barbara Nelson said. “I’m asking you to take that a step further and say, at the state level, that all dogs must be microchipped. It’s not foolproof, but you will at least have some way to identify an animal that is abused or neglected, or becomes a problem because it is violent.” The problem with microchipping in the U.S. as it is now is that its goal is to ensure that a pet can be returned to its owner, but it doesn’t establish an identity for the dog the way a human has a driver’s license or a passport. The microchip establishes a relationship between the dog and its owner, but not the dog and the public. The microchip does little to protect the dog if the shelter it ends up at is equally neglectful or abusive. “Some of them are pretty bad,” Nelson added. “You can have a rescue or shelter where an animal is almost in a neglect situation.”
Making a microchip mandatory will give shelters, police departments, vets, and owners the ability to track dogs and ensure their protection. It will give them identity within the human public sphere. If an animal is found abused, neglected, or abandoned, it will be identifiable and can be traced back to its owner or previous home, even if it is a shelter.
Barbara Nelson is looking to gather enough support and information to begin drafting bills for the 2015 legislative session. Please take a moment to sign the petition and support mandatory microchipping and stronger animal shelter regulations in South Carolina. Perhaps they can be the stepping stone for federal-level regulation.
Dear Barbara Nelson,
You recently called for the mandatory microchipping of all dogs in South Carolina and for more regulations for animal rescues and shelters at the Animal Welfare Listening Session conducted by a Senate subcommittee. Doing so would give dogs a public identity much the same as a human’s driver’s license, making them traceable. Anyone who finds a dog that has been neglected or abused would be able to find the person responsible more easily.
Thank you for your commitment to protecting animals throughout South Carolina. I strongly support this initiative and hope to see it represented as a bill in next year’s legislative session.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: chancemissie via Flickr