ALBANY -- A new law just passed that will help to reunite pet owners with lost dogs and cats. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law Monday that requires found pets to be checked for microchips within 24 hours of being found.
The new law requires that animal shelters, rescue groups and other organizations that take in found pets to check to see it they have a chip or other identifying information. They have to try to contact the owners within 24 hours.
The law also requires the state Department of Agriculture and Markets makes a list of rules and regulations to help standardize microchip technology in New York.
“Today, we took a huge step forward in safeguarding the cats and dogs of New York state," said the bill's sponsor Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan.
"Losing a pet is a crushing experience. Better utilization of microchip technology will help make immediate, long-range connections between owner and pet that have never before been possible." Microcrochips can be put in a pet at veterinary offices.
A chip is only about as big as a grain of rice and contains the owners' contact information --so if their dog or cat is ever lost they can be scanned for a chip to be easily reunited.
The bill's supporters said the measure will provide more uniformed standards on the use of pet microchips and help to return pets more quickly and effectively.
It will also help to cut down the number of euthanized animals in shelters and rescue homes, they said.
Lost dogs who have been implanted with a microchip are able to get home to their owners about 52 percent of the time, according to a study by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Micro chipped cats were able to be reunited with owners about 39 percent of the time, the group said.
“This law will help create standards for the use of microchip technology to reunite more lost pets with their families, ease over-crowding at our animal shelters and rescues and reduce some of the financial burden on those organizations,” said the bill's Senate sponsor, Sen. James Tedisco, R-Schenectady.
The law will go into effect 120 days after it was signed.