MT. VERNON — A new policy for micro chipping all adopted and claimed animals will be recommended to the full Jefferson County Board following preliminary approval by the Public Safety Committee on Wednesday.
Martin Boykin, animal control supervisor for the Jefferson County Animal Shelter, said micro chipping is required by the state, along with spay and neutering and rabies shots for adopted animals.
"These are for animals that people adopt or for animals that have been picked up or running at-large in a case where they have been impounded," Boykin explained. He further explained that about 75 percent of the shelters in the area are doing their own micro chipping, which is about a two-minute process.
"We're giving them a voucher for $15 at the time of adoption for micro chipping. We can still keep that price the same and micro chip them ourselves, and in addition to the chip, it would include a lifetime registration, which means their chip would not only be registered with us but for that individual at no additional charge," Boykin said."Right now, when they go to a veterinarian, it's up to them to report the chip and register it themselves, and a lot of companies charge," he added.Boykin reported he is working working with a company, Datamars, to provide the microchips. He indicated the chips could be purchased for $9 each, which includes registration. Boykin also noted the animal shelter would like to update its scanner system, about a $200 investment. By purchasing 375 chips and a new scanner, the county's cost would be approximately $3,500.Boykin said by offering this service to pet owners, it is not only considered a cost savings to them — since most vets charge $30 or more to have their pet micro chipped — but it could also increase revenue at the animal shelter.Boykin estimated that about 400 to 450 dogs and/or cats are adopted at the shelter annually, and by buying the chips at under $10, the shelter could profit about $6 per animal, or Boykin estimated annual revenues of $2,400."We're bringing this (policy) in to not only bring in a few more dollars for the county but to help the public in saving them costs in not paying as much for this service, plus helping out with the registration. A lot of the problems we're having is not a lot of the micro chips are not being registered, they're only registered under the person who is doing the chipping, which is either the vet or an animal control facility. Nobody is updating their information on who actually owns that dog, so you have to go into the process of tracking down the chip, contacting the shelters and then get the information from them on who has adopted the dog. People change their numbers and move all the time and with this company we're dealing with, they update the information to keep track on that dog," Boykin said."It's going to make it easier for us to micro chip and register because we'll be able to log into our system and have the information readily available. It's going to save not just the county time to locate who owns this animal, but to help the public and save them a few dollars," he added.In other business, Jim Engeman of M360 provided an update on the courthouse renovations. Engeman said officials have identified roof leaks and will start a diagnosis on how to resolve the problem. He also indicated the courthouse's steam system is at the end of its life, and his company is recommending a variable refrigeration system to replace the aging system. The recommended system will include "green" technology, which takes heat out of rooms with refrigerant piping. Engeman also reported the restrooms would have to be renovated to make them compliant with ADA standards; and all the piping in the restrooms would be replaced. He also indicated new restrooms are proposed for the first floor of the courthouse.Engeman suggested M360 would have some preliminary numbers on the renovation project within two weeks."So far, what we're finding is good," he said. "We haven't been hit with any surprises."