On the agenda at today’s Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting is an amendment to the county’s Animal Control Ordinance. A proposed revision would require pet owners to have their animals micro-chipped if they’re found wandering about and taken to a shelter.
“If the animal is found at large and has a micro-chip the owner will not be fined on the first offense and the Animal Control Officer will make reasonable effort to locate the owner,” the proposed rule reads. “If the animal is found at large and taken to the shelter, the animal must be micro-chipped at the owner’s expense before the animal can be returned to the owner.”
The micro-chips would help animal-control officers identify lost animals and return them to their owners.
The proposed rule comes in the wake of last week’s news that micro-chips, or tiny radio-frequency identification tags implanted beneath the skin, have been linked with cancer in lab mice. Studies published in veterinary and toxicology journals from 1996 to 2006 found that lab mice injected with the chips occasionally developed malignant tumors, according to an article in Time. There’s been less conclusive evidence that the chips have similar effects in cats and dogs, but a news story about the death of a certain micro-chipped French bulldog named Leon (who’s pictured here) has made waves in the technology world. VeriChip, the corporation that manufactures implantable RFID microchips, has taken some heat since the story broke.
For more local news on RFID technology, see the special Xpress technology issue that appears on stands tomorrow.
— Rebecca Bowe, contributing editor