What We Do & Services

Microchipping

In April 2015, the San Antonio City Council unanimously approved the elimination of the City's pet licensing program. The City's licensing program involved annual registration with the City including providing proof of rabies and pets wearing a metal Texas-shaped license tag.

Microchip Your Pet

An ordinance amendment was approved making a registered microchip the primary means of licensing for pets living within the San Antonio city limits. Residents do not have to formally register their pet's microchip with the City or ACS - microchips only need to be registered with the microchip manufacturer.

Owners whose pets have a current City license will be in compliance until those licenses expire, at which point, their pet must have a registered microchip. If your pet's license is already expired, you will be unable to purchase a new City license; instead you will need to obtain a microchip from Animal Care Services (FREE for City residents at ACS and at any off site Microchip Mania! clinic - see events calendar), Residents may also purchase a microchip at any of our spay/neuter clinic partners, any community shelter, or from any private veterinarian at their listed pricing. Be sure to ask if your purchased microchip comes with registration or if the chip will need to be registered. The new ordinance went into effect for enforcement in July 2015.

Read below for more information on how to purchase a registered microchip for your pet and remain in compliance with the law.

 

Animal Care Services offers microchipping anytime during regular business hours – no appointment needed (includes lifetime registration). San Antonio residents who live within City limits can obtain FREE microchips anytime at ACS or at any of our monthly Microchip Mania! clinics - check out our events calendar for the next microchip clinic! Lost pets with a microchip have a significantly higher chance of returning home when brought into a veterinary clinic or shelter.

New Microchip Law Key Points

  • All dogs, cats, ferrets residing in San Antonio city limits must have a registered microchip.
  • Registered microchip must show current ownership information including:
    • Owner name, address, phone number (if available) and the description of the pet
    • Microchips do not need to be registered with the City or ACS; microchips only need to be registered with microchip manufacturer. 
  • A current city license (the metal Texas-shaped tag) shall continue to be valid until its expiration.
  • An annual permit shall be required (in addition to a registered microchip) for pets deemed as aggressive or dangerous
  • The owner of the pet is responsible for ensuring that the microchip is registered with current information.
    • Microchips purchased from ACS with be automatically registered to the owner purchasing the chip and comes with free lifetime registration.
  • If there is a change in pet ownership, the previous and the current owner are both responsible for ensuring the microchip is updated with new owner's information.
  • Dogs MUST wear a tag with the registered microchip number at all times while outdoors.
    • Microchips generally come with a tag from the microchip manufacturer with pet's respective microchip number engraved on it. If that tag is lost or misplaced, any tag with the microchip number associated with that pet worn on the pet's collar or harness will be considered in compliance with the law. For example, if a pet's official tag from the microchip company is lost or misplaced, an owner may go to any local pet store to purchase a tag and have it engraved with the pet's microchip number for a low-cost.
  • All dogs and cats of an owner must have registered microchips prior to the City issuing an excess animal permit.
  • Exemptions to a registered microchip include:
    • A non-resident to the City but keeping the pet in the City for fewer than 60 days.
    • Owner has been a resident of the City fewer than 30 days.
    • Pet has been abandoned or lost and the temporary owner has had the pet fewer than 30 days.
    • Medical exemption from licensed veterinarian

For more information on the updated Microchip Ordinance, please visit the City's Chapter 5 Animal Laws.

Microchip Manufacturer Information

Unsure of who is the manufacturer of your pet's microchip is? Most animal shelters, veterinary clinics, and spay/neuter clinics have universal microchip scanners that will be able to scan your pet. The microchip scanner will pick up a unique ID number and corresponding manufacturer based on the type of microchip number scanned.

Please visit AAHA Pet Microchip Lookup to see which company/service the particular chip is registered with.  Chips can be registered with different companies.  

Manufacturer  Phone Number Scanner Read
 HomeAgain 1-888-466-3242 
 10-digit alpha numeric code
15-digit numeric code 
(beginning with 985)
 AVID 1-800-336-2843 AVID*___*___*___
9-digit alpha numeric code
 AVID Euro 1-800-336-2843 10-digit alpha numeric code
 AKC 1-800-252-7894 TR___-___-___
10-digit alpha numeric code
15-digit numeric code
(beginning with 956)
 24PetWatch 1-866-597-2424 10-digit alpha numeric code
15-digit numeric code
(beginning with 982)
Bayer ResQ  1-877-738-5465 15-digit numeric code
(beginning with 0D0D)
Banfield  1-877-567-8738
10-digit alpha numeric code
(beginning with 0D0D
15-digit numeric code 
(beginning with (98101)

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A microchip is a small device about the size of a grain of rice that’s injected under the skin of your pet. Microchips have unique numbers that basically act as your pet’s ID. If your pet gets lost or accidently gets out, most veterinarians and all animal shelters have special scanners that can “read” the microchip number and company. Since that number is unique to your pet, the folks who find your dog or cat can call the microchip company and you can be reunited with your companion animal! It’s VITAL you keep this contact information updated if you move or change numbers.

Registered microchips, like the ones Animal Care Services uses, give a lost pet the best chance of getting back home. Unfortunately, pets without microchips have a tougher time. That’s because collars with ID tags are great but they can fall off. Microchips are a “one and done” way of making sure your pet always has identification. This one time procedure provides a lifetime of ID for your pet…and the peace of mind that your pet can always be traced back to you if they wander off or get lost!

Microchips are injected into the fatty area between the shoulders of your pet. This area is commonly referred to as the “scruff.” A hypodermic needle, similar to one used for a vaccination, is used to implant the microchip. No surgery or anesthesia is required—a microchip can even be implanted during a routine visit to the vet.

Animal Care Services offers registered microchipping, which includes a lifetime registration FREE for San Antonio Residents. Residents who do not live in San Antonio city limits may purchase a registered microchip from the ACS Shelter located at 4710 Highway 151 for only $5 through June 2016. Most private veterinary clinics offer microchip services for a fee as do local community shelters like the San Antonio Humane Society (4804 Fredericksburg) and the Animal Defense League (11300 Nacogdoches) and local spay/neuter clinics. Be sure to ask if the service includes registration--otherwise you will be responsible for making sure the microchip company has your contact information! Remember, City law requires that a pet be microchipped and the pet's microchip be registered with the microchip manufacturer (not ACS) and contain the owner's current information.

The microchips ACS uses only “contain” the identification number for your pet. They can’t act as a GPS tracking device to locate your pet if they get lost but there are some companies out there that make GPS tags for pets. Some microchip companies will provide online tools to keep track of your pet’s medical information and vaccination schedule.

Microchips carry only a unique identification number.

If your pet gets lost and is taken to Animal Care Services, another shelter, or to a vet clinic, your pet will be scanned for a microchip to reveal their unique ID number. That number will be associated with a specific microchip manufacturer (see Microchip Manufacturer Information above) and you will be contacted using the contact information on file with your pet’s microchip manufacturer.

*It is vital to keep your contact information up to date so that you can be reached.

Veterinary clinics and animal shelters (including ACS) use microchips that are available on the U.S. market—but other parts of the world and even the military use a variety of microchips with different frequencies. That’s why Animal Care Services uses universal scanners that can “read” the varying frequencies emitted by the different brands of chips. These universal scanners are used to detect microchips a number of times during a pet’s stay at the shelter including prior to decisions about placement or euthanasia.

At this time, there is no centralized number but there is a FREE database online where you can register your pet’s microchip information, regardless of what brand of chip your dog or cat has. The Found Animals Registry on www.foundanimals.org allows owners to list each of their pet’s microchip numbers as well as personal contact information without charge. Updates or transfer of ownership can also be registered without charge for the lifetime of the pet on foundanimals.org. Since microchips are listed in the registries connected to the maker of that chip, pet owners should always keep that listed contact information up to date as well. Fortunately, the universal scanners that ACS, other shelters and vet clinics use are able to display the name of the microchip's manufacturer when the microchip is detected. The chance that a microchipped pet cannot be identified from its chip number is very low UNLESS that microchip has not been registered or the contact info is not up to date.

If your pet does get loose or run away, visit our Lost Your Pet? page to find more information.

First, try to check for a collar tag indicated the pet has a microchip. Most microchip companies offer collar tags with the company’s toll free help line and the pet’s exclusive ID number. If you don’t see a tag, taking the pet to the nearest vet office or animal shelter to be scanned for a microchip is a good idea. While veterinary clinics and shelters won’t give you the owner’s personal information outright, they can call the microchip company and/or the owner to start the reunion process.

Several years ago, the American Animal Hospital Association started a Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool (www.petmicrochiplookup.org) that provides the company name along with the microchip number to make it easier for animal professionals and the public to reunite lost pets with their owners. Although this new tool does not list the owner’s private contact information, it does list the registry help lines for microchip manufacturers throughout the world. A simple call by the user will get a lost pet one step closer to getting home.

Microchips can fail and be unable to be detected but it is rare. Human error can also lead to a chip not being read as can faulty scanners, struggling, aggressive, obese animals or metal collars. Animal Care Services’ procedures include several microchip scans while a pet is at our shelter to increase the chances a microchip IS located.

The benefits of microchipping animals definitely outweigh the risks but no system is ever foolproof. The risk of an animal shelter or veterinary clinic not being able to detect a microchip is very low but it is a risk. That’s one of the reasons why Animal Care Services uses universal scanners and has a number of “chip checks” throughout a pet’s stay at the shelter. It’s also why a tag containing the pet's microchip number is required to be worn by the pet. Ensuring your pet remains on your property and your fences and gates are in good repair will also go a long way towards making sure your pets remain safe at home with you! If you are concerned about your pet having a negative reaction to microchipping or you have questions about microchips in general, check with your pet’s veterinarian.