By Moses Leos III
An amendment further defining how pet owners can identify their animals will extend to all creatures, even those with a mane.
The Kyle City Council Wednesday voted 4-0 to amend the definition of tagging animals to include microchip implants.
That change allows Shorty and Spot, a pair of miniature livestock, to comply with the city’s code of ordinances.
“I think [the amendment] makes sense,” Jennifer Cross, co-owner of Cross Plants and Produce and owner of Shorty and Spot, said. “In the unlikely event they get out, [Animal Control would] use the same microchip reader they use on a dog or cat. It’s universal. And it’s permanent.”
The identification issues began shortly after Cross and her husband, Nathan, won their fight for Shorty and Spot to live on the property. On Aug. 19, the Kyle council changed the existing animal ordinance to allow for miniature livestock.
Before their vote, miniature livestock were only allowed on property zoned for agricultural use.
After the change, the Cross family wanted to ensure their animals complied with the city’s guidelines for identification.
Several options were on the table, including placing an ear tag, or a tattoo on the inside of the animals’ lip.
Shorty and Spot’s veterinarian suggested implanting a microchip. Cross said the procedure is more permanent, and doesn’t cause as much discomfort to the animals.
“These are our pets. I’d prefer them not have a big [tag] in their ear,” Cross said. “But if that was the law, I was ready to do it. But [our veterinarian] advised against it.”
But she soon realized microchipping wasn’t defined within Kyle’s animal ordinance.
Tagging is defined as “a vaccination tag attached to a collar as required by this chapter or some other permanent identifying device attached to a collar or to an animal.”
She took her concern to Kyle Mayor Todd Webster, who then spoke with Kyle Police Department Chief Jeff Barnett. Webster said Barnett “didn’t have any objections” to an amendment adding microchipping.
“Tagging [with an ear tag or tattoo] was very agricultural in nature, where their animals were more pet like,” Webster said. “That was a reasonable request, that way they could microchip their animals.”
Kyle Animal Control already has equipment in place to read implanted microchips in animals because of a previous change to the animal ordinance in 2012.
However, microchipping remains a voluntary procedure for most pet owners, according to Briana Brecher, Animal Control Officer in Kyle. It’s only mandatory for animals that have been impounded twice.
Collared tags with date vaccination information are required for all dogs and cats in Kyle.
However, Brecher said microchipping is a highly recommended idea. She said the implant, which is injected between the shoulder blades, varies anywhere between $20 and $60.
“It’s a permanent identification and they seem to be functional years later,” Brecher said. She went on to say that microchips implanted in dogs 10 to 15 years ago are still active.
For Cross, the idea wasn’t never just to change a law, but to make sure her pets could legally stay in the city.
“Microchip was the most humane and permanent way to identify [Shorty and Spot],” Cross said.