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Arizona's lost dogs, cats must now be scanned for microchips and reunited with owners

Legislation has been signed that legally obligates Arizona's animal shelters and pounds to scan dogs and cats for microchips.

PHOENIX — Arizona's lost dogs and cats may have a better chance of getting reunited with their owners now that new legislation has been signed obligating shelters to check new animals for microchips. 

House Bill 2626 requires all county pounds, animal shelters, veterinarians, and crematories to scan dogs and cats for embedded microchips, which could reveal the identities and addresses of their owners.  

"It's just about trying to get lost dogs and cats returned or those that are deceased, give a little closure for the family," said state Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, during a legislative meeting last month.

Kavanagh introduced the legislation and said it simply mandates a practice that most shelters and pounds were already implementing in Arizona. 

"I think almost everybody does it, maybe not everybody. So this simply says 'You've gotta do it'," Kavanagh added. 

The new law applies to deceased dogs and cats picked up in public places and brought to a pound or humane society. Workers at these facilities must check for microchips and contact possible owners before disposing of the deceased animals. 

Gov. Doug Ducey signed HB 2626 into law this week after it passed through both legislative chambers.

Up to a third of all dogs and cats in the U.S. will go missing at some point in their lives and about 80% are never found, according to the American Humane Association.

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