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Board of Veterinary Medicine may restrict animal shelters’ ability to continue safe, reliable method of reuniting lost pets with their families; coalition seeks public’s help

 

(Palm City, FL) – The Coalition to Help Identify Pets (CHIP) is seeking the public’s help in asking the Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine (BVM) to reconsider their proposal to restrict humane organizations from microchipping shelter animals available for adoption. CHIP is asking that the public send e-mails and calls of concern to the BVM prior to a possible ruling next Tuesday, March 18th when the BVM meets in Ft. Lauderdale.  

Microchipping is a simple but life-saving procedure that allows veterinarians, animal shelters, animal control officers and other animal care professionals to identify lost pets. Although microchip insertion is commonly performed by non-veterinary shelter personnel, The BVM recently ruled that the simple injection of a microchip is considered “the practice of veterinary medicine.” The discussion next Tuesday will propose requiring “immediate supervision” – that a veterinarian be on a shelter’s premises whenever a microchip is inserted. “Most humane organizations are unable to have a full-time veterinarian on staff, thereby greatly limiting an animal shelter’s ability to microchip,” says Frank Valente, spokesperson for CHIP.

According to Valente, microchipping is a valuable tool in disaster-prone states such as Florida where pets and their families often become separated. “We all saw how many people lost their pets after hurricanes Andrew, Jeanne, Frances and Wilma. Humane organizations and animal care and control agencies want to do everything possible to reunite pets with their families immediately.”

Thousands of animals available for adoption in Florida humane agencies are simply and easily microchipped by shelter personnel each year. The procedure involves injecting a passive transponder, the size of a grain of rice, beneath the skin between the animal’s shoulder blades. When a hand-held scanner is passed over the animal, the microchip alerts the scanner to the animal’s identification information. Although the BVM has cited safety concerns as one factor, complications are rare. “Clearly, the benefits outweigh the risks,” Valente said.

  1. To contact the Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine and oppose the proposed ruling, Please call (850) 487.1395 or e-mail Call.Center@dbpr.state.fl.us  

  2. If you live in the South Florida area, the Board of Veterinary Medicine meeting will be held March 18th at 8:00 a.m. and be held at the Embassy Suites, 1100 SE 17th St., Ft. Lauderdale

  3. You may write to Governor Charlie Crist to express  your opposition to this proposed ruling by e-mailing Charlie.Crist@myflorida.com

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