Governor Quinn Saving Pets, Signing New Law to Check Twice for Microchips

Governor Quinn Saving Pets, Signing New Law to Check Twice for Microchips

Thanks to Governor Quinn, and a bill signed into law today (August 3), lost dogs and cats are more likely to be reunited with their families.

The bill requires shelters to scan each pet twice and also attempt to contact owners via email and/or telephone with 24 hours of their intake.

Dr. Robyn Barbiers, president of the Anti Cruelty Society of Chicago called the bill "best practices," at a press conference at the Anti Cruelty Society, which included Steve Zorn of Precious Pets Almost Home, Ike (a dog found on the Eisenhower Expressway - who was not microchipped) and I spoke as well.

Sen. Pamella Althoff, R-McHenry  and Rep. David Reis (R-Olney) were responsible for first introducing the bipartisan bill.

I thanked the Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners and Best Friends legislative guru Ledy Van Kavage. The Governor has mentioned that Illinois should be number one when it comes to animals protection laws. I said, "Thanks to you Gov. Quinn, and also to Ledy, we are number one!" I complimented Ledy on her tireless work, and added that I don't often compliment lawyers.

I also noted that State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka is bringing shelters together supporting pet adoption with the Comptroller's Critter Program. Everyone's getting into the act!

The Governor spoke about how pets are a part of the family, and you know that most of all when you lose one. I showed off our recently adopted Hazel, from the Animal Welfare League of Chicago. I said, We weren't looking for another dog after losing our dog, Lucy, in May. Lucy, who was nearly 16, helped so many as an animal assisted therapy dog at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and impacted more lives than I can count or than we will ever know. Hazel doesn't replace that - but somehow, and I really don't know how - she is the right dog for us now.

Dr. Barbiers and I both stressed the importance of microchipping. And Dr. Barbiers rightly noted that even a simple dog tag is important, with the name, address and phone number of the owner - the person who found that pet may not even need to go to a shelter. But we also added, registration with the microchip provider is equally as important as being microchipped. Dr. Barbiers pointed out, "And if you move, you do need to update that information with the micrcchip provider."

Later, the Governor revealed for the fist time that he just lost his beloved Yorkshire Terrier Bailey to heart disease. I told the Governor about the Your Dog's Heart website. And how common heart disease happens to be in smaller dogs.

I told the Governor privately, "Losing a dog after a long life isn't easy. But losing a pet who runs out the door or is stolen, and the pet has no identification - is tragic, and unnecessary. We need to get all dogs, and cats too - microchipped." He said, "I agree." I strongly supported this bill - but take no credit for making it happen, and congratulate those who ushered it thought, and tweaked along the way to make it stronger.

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    Steve Dale

    Dog/Cat Behavior Consultant; pet advocate; broadcaster, journalist

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