Does your pet have a microchip? He may be required to get one in 2020

As of January 1st, 2020, a Montreal bylaw requires all dogs, cats and rabbits over six months old to receive an identification microchip.

Have you ever had a pet run away or go missing? It’s one of the most stressful things that can happen to a pet parent, but The City of Montreal would like to make lost pets a thing of the past with a new bylaw that will make finding your lost pet as easy as a trip to the local veterinary clinic.

In 2020, lost pets in Montreal will be required to be fitted with a unique identifying microchip, implanted just under the skin between the shoulder blades of the animal, before being returned to their guardian. The chip carries information about the pet and the contact information of his guardian in the case that the pet is lost or stolen and can be scanned at any SPCA location or veterinary clinic.

The microchip itself is no larger than a grain of rice, and the implantation causes minimal pain to the pet – about equal to a flu shot or an ear piercing for a human.

In 2014, the City of Montreal had 3,600 dogs and 13,400 cats admitted to animal shelters. 46% of them ended up being adopted, 7% were reclaimed by their owner, and 47% had to be put down. This new bylaw aims to increase the number of reclaimed pets.

Pet parents in Montreal can now be asked for proof that their pet has a microchip. Fines for a first infraction range from $300 to $600, $600 to $1,200 for a second offence; and $1,200 to $2,000 for subsequent offences.

A bylaw like this has never been attempted before anywhere in Canada or the United States. In the United Kingdom, all dogs must be microchipped by the time they are eight weeks old, and The International Society for Animal Rights recommends mandatory microchipping at animal shelters for all lost animals before they are returned home.

The SPCA offers a microchip implantation and registration service, weekdays from 1 to 3 p.m. at a cost of $45. The whole process takes about 30 to 45 minutes. Well worth it!