By Dr. Katherine Albrecht
Posted: April 6, 2009
SAN MARCOS, Texas -- Victory for Pet Owners! San Marcos, Texas overturns Microchip Mandate
Local animal owners no longer required to chip their pets
The City Council of San Marcos, Texas, unanimously voted last week to
rescind a mandatory pet microchipping ordinance that would have required
all pets within city limits to receive an injected implant. The 7 to 0
vote was made at the City Council meeting on March 31, 2009. All members
were present and voted, including Mayor Susan Clifford-Narvaiz,
according to San Marcos Communications Director Melissa Millecam.
The chipping ordinance was originally adopted last December and was
slated to take effect on April 1st. The measure had sparked months of
heated opposition and repeated demonstrations by local residents,
including a protest and candlelight vigil at the March 3rd City Council
meeting that drew a crowd of over 300 people.
The March 3rd protest took place during the last City Council meeting,
and was heavily covered by the local television and print media. The
protest, combined with the impassioned testimony of numerous local
residents, prompted the City Council to agree to reconsider the measure
at its March 31st meeting, at which point the measure was overturned.
Revisions to the ordinance passed "on emergency," and removed the
microchipping requirement effective immediately. The City
Council also voted to lift the prohibition against the sale or adoption
of animals in parking lots and to allow the keeping of hens in
"We applaud the San Marcos City Council for this decision," said local
activist Lisa Marie Coppoletta, who helped organize the March 3rd rally.
"Chipping should be a voluntary decision between pet owners and their
veterinarians. It should never be mandated by the government."
Opponents of mandatory chipping cite research linking the implants with
cancer in dogs, as well as peer-reviewed studies showing that 1% to 10%
of laboratory animals injected with implantable microchips develop
cancer around the implants. They say this information is well known to
Home Again parent company Schering Plough, but that the company has
withheld the information from pet owners and the veterinary community.
Debate over the chipping ordinance heated up in February when a
longhaired chihuahua named Charlie Brown bled to death just hours after
receiving a microchip implant mandated by Los Angeles County.
"As people become more aware of the dangers of microchip implants, we
expect other communities to follow suit," said Dr. Katherine Albrecht, a
nationally-known RFID microchip expert and liberty activist who flew in
from New Hampshire to speak at the March 3rd event and share her
research with the City Council. "We are pleased that San Marcos
officials responded appropriately to the groundswell of opposition to
Albrecht, who has extensively researched the microchip-cancer
connection, expressed concern that government officials have been
issuing microchip mandates without reviewing all of the facts. In
addition, she points out that many members of the public view microchip
mandates as an inappropriate incursion on pet owners' rights.
"Such laws set a bad precedent with a controversial and unpopular
technology," Albrecht said. "The San Marcos episode serves as a reminder
to government officials everywhere that the people--and their pets--will
not tolerate chipping. "We'll be taking this message, and this movement,
nationwide," she added.