LIHU‘E — In collaboration with the Kaua‘i Humane Society, the county is moving forward with requiring pets be microchipped.
A one-time, $20 microchipping cost will replace biennial licensing fees for cats and dogs on Kaua‘i, per two Kaua‘i County Council-approved measures, bills 2820 and 2821, on Wednesday. The bills still require a signature from Mayor Derek Kawakami,but were requested by the administration.
“I just encourage everyone to get their dogs and cats microchipped so that you can find them. They’re a member of your family. You love them,” Councilmember KipuKai Kuali‘i said.
The hopes in requiring microchips are to increase owner compliance, reduce administrative costs, cut costs for owners by eliminating the biennial renewals and increasing chances for pet and owner reunifications.
Should KHS come across a stray animal or one be brought into its facility, an officer can scan the pet and input the serial number of the microchip into several databases to find an owner’s contact information.
One of the downsides to microchipping is that owners may not update their contact information associated with the chip. The current licensing programs, for both cats and dogs, require a new license fee every two years.
However, it has poor traction and, year after year, sales and renewals are on a downward trend, making “a poor representation of the pet population,” county Department of Finance Director Reiko Matsuyama said in a memo to the council earlier this year.
This is also a cost-saving measure for the county. According to the Department of Finance’s fiscal year 2022 budget and operations synopsis, this effort will eliminate about $30,000 in licensing-program costs for the county.
All cats and dogs adopted from KHS and animals that have participated in KHS clinics already have microchips. On average, for the last four years, 30% of licenses for dogs were from adoptions and 60% of licenses sold for cats were from adoptions, according to the memo.
All animals entering Kaua‘i are chipped, as well as animals that participate in many nonprofit clinics.
“It was great working with the Department of Finance and councilmembers to update Kaua‘i’s licensing program,” KHS Executive Director Nicole Schafer Crane said.
“Microchipping is a more-effective, affordable and reliable way to ensure lost animals make it back to their owners. Microchipping is safe, it is a one-time cost of $20 at KHS, there are no renewal fees, and owners do not have to worry about losing it like a regular metal license on a collar,” she said.
Kaua‘i’s program follows a model set by Hawaiian Humane on Hawai‘i Island, which started its microchipping program in July 2020. In the six months since starting its program, 62% more animals were microchipped than in 2019.
“I can speak for both the cats and dogs that this is a good direction that will be easier on the animals, people, hunters and our administrative efforts,” Councilmember Felicia Cowden said before the bills passed.
KHS will be offering free microchips for the month of June to help owners come into compliance, Schafer Crane said.
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or email@example.com.