Starting on April 1 pets in San Marcos, Texas will be required to be microchipped. Also, as part of the new law, pet owners will be required to provide adequate food and water. It’s a pretty sad statement that there’s a need for a food & water law, but hopefully it will give authorities in San Marcos more ammunition to remove pets from dangerous situations.
The city strengthened its animal protection laws recently, becoming one of a few cities in the country to require microchips for pets, but it stopped short of banning the chaining of dogs because officials said they didn’t want to burden residents financially.
“It’s time for people to step up and be a little progressive,” said Bert Stratemann, the San Marcos animal services manager. Pets are considered property in Texas, so like other prized belongings — such as cars, bicycles and some electronics — they should be registered, he says.
Among other things, the law will prohibit selling animals in parking lots and on public property, a measure Stratemann said is aimed at deterring unregistered pet breeders, and will make clear what owners are responsible for in terms of providing their pets with adequate food, water and shelter.
The animal control department had trouble enforcing the previous, vaguely written rules about animal care, Stratemann said. The San Marcos Animal Shelter Advisory Board began a review of the ordinance about a year ago. The City Council approved the revisions in December, and the rules go into effect April 1.
Microchipping can cost $10 to $60, Stratemann said. The city charges $20.
Pet owners who fail to provide microchips for their cats and dogs could see fines of up to $500. But Stratemann said in most cases, the fines could be lessened or dropped if pet owners show a judge proof of subsequent microchipping. The city plans to hold low-cost microchipping events, but the dates, location and cost have not been set.