ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- A new law is requiring all rescue groups across New York state to look more closely at whether or not an animal is microchipped. Signed earlier this week, it states all shelters and rescue organizations must check any animal found and, if there is a chip, contact the owner within 24 hours.
"We've been in compliance with this legislation for many years," says Tom Geroy, Executive Director of the Chemung County Humane Society. "I applaud our state legislature for really taking steps to protect the welfare of our community's pets [and] our state's pets. It's really a step in the right direction."
Nearly all area veterinary offices are able to implant a microchip. In most cases, registering an animal's microchip can be as easy as entering a code online.
According to a study by the American Veterinary Medical Association, lost dogs with a microchip are reunited with their owners about 52% of the time. That's compared to about 21% for those without one.
Lost cats with a chip were reunited about 39% of the time.
And while microchipping may be a vital part of finding your lost pet, the technology means nothing without updated contact info attached.
"Making sure your name and address is registered with the microchip is equally as important," says Arynn Brucie, Community Engagement Manager for the Humane Society. "Whether your address changes, or your phone number changes, making sure to update that is so important."
But there are other steps in making sure you and your lost pet are reunited. For example, pet tags and embroidered collars.
"I really see this as a two-prong approach," says Geroy. "You microchip, but you also have visual identification."
The new legislation will take full effect in April of 2018.