Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal Passes Law to Reunite Lost Pets with their Owners

Embrace of tech-innovation will allay pet owners’ worries

New York, NY – Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) today announced that her bill to help reunite people with their lost cat or dog was signed into law. The legislation will require animal shelters, rescue groups and any other organizations that take in lost, stray or abandoned animals, to check every animal for a microchip or other identifying mark, and to make an attempt to notify the guardian within 24 hours. The bill will also require the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to study best practices and new technologies related to reconnecting lost pets with their owners.

“As thousands of New Yorkers can attest, pets are family. Today, with the signing of my microchip bill into law, we took a huge step forward in safeguarding the cats and dogs of New York State,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “Losing a pet is a crushing experience. Better utilization of microchip technology will help make immediate, long-range connections between owner and pet that have never before been possible.”

By requiring that pet owners be contacted within 24 hours, shelters can reduce their number of unnecessary euthanasia and ensure that pets are reunited with owners as quickly and cost efficiently as possible.

“This bill is a victory for animal shelters and rescues statewide. Successful implementation of this new system will ensure these facilities can devote more of their space to animals in need of longer term care,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal.

For pet owners, microchip and other locator technology is not new, but no statewide standards exist. A thorough study will allow the state to explore how best to unite animals with their caretakers. The new law calls for the New York State Commissioner of Department of Agriculture & Markets to appoint a committee to advise the commissioner on the technical requirements necessary in creating universal standards and access to identifying information. The bill, which was sponsored in the State Senate by Jim Tedisco, will take effect in 120 days.

“Our companion animals are important parts of many of our families. That’s why it is so heart wrenching when a pet goes missing. This bipartisan law, which I worked on closely with Assemblymember Rosenthal, will help create standards for the use of microchip technology to reunite more lost pets with their families, ease over-crowding at our animal shelters and rescues and reduce some of the financial burden on those organizations. I want to thank the Governor for signing this bill into law so we can help more companion animals find their way home,” said Senator Jim Tedisco.

“This bill is an important step forward in reuniting companion animals with their owners,” said Libby Post, Executive Director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation. “Bringing government, animal shelters and industry leaders together to discuss microchips and the need to standardize frequencies is a conversation long in the making.”