Military enforces 'Semper Fido' with microchips
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Christian Science Monitor
Posted: December 23rd, 2006
Abandoned pets are a growing part of the military culture. Dogs and cats are dropped off in remote corners of the post at a rate of more than 20 a week. But the US Armed Forces are fighting back. Adopting a Big Brother approach, the military is implanting microchips in cats and dogs that live on government land as much for animal control as for owner control. Says Fort Polk, La., Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Ricky L. Jones of the soldier who abandons a pet, "with the chip you can't hide." Fort Polk has used the chip to track down soldiers who have abandoned their pets and forced them to pay an adoption fee. "It's a way to control our stray animal population and protect our working force, too," says Capt. Steven Baty, a veterinarian at Fort Carson, Colo., where microchipping has been mandatory since 1998. The tiny chips, the size of a grain of rice, are injected under the skin on an animal's neck and contain a bar code that can be scanned and read by humane societies and veterinary clinics nationwide. The procedure costs about $15, takes two to three seconds, and is no more painful than a typical vaccination. Microchip enforcement varies by base. At Fort Polk, La., animal controllers are part of a weekly housing patrol, joining inspectors who check to make sure lawns are cut and that soldiers aren't violating housing regulations. The animal controller carries a portable scanner and runs the wand over dogs and cats, looking for numbers to light up the small screen. If the pets don't have a microchip, soldiers are warned, and if they don't comply, their animals are taken away.
Note: The Monitor removed this article from their website. To see a copy of it on the Internet archive, click here.