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Koronadal City to implement microchip data implants for pet security

A resident brings her pet dog to the Koronadal City Veterinary Office (CVO) demo farm in Brgy. GPS for a quick check-up. As part of their continuing anti-rabies campaign, the CVO regularly conducts vaccination and animal birth control activities at their office and in the barangays.

There are lots of creative and diverse approaches that are used to advocate for responsible pet ownership and share life-saving rabies prevention messages around the globe.

In Koronadal City, the city government is set to implement a high-tech mechanism through the use of microchip implants for dogs to store valuable data, City Veterinarian Dr. Charlemagne Calo revealed.

Its implementation will kick off on October 7, during the city’s 23rd charter anniversary.

Once implemented, Dr. Calo said this will be the first of its kind not only in South Cotabato but in the whole Soccsksargen region.

How does it work?

According to Dr. Calo, the microchip uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology with the dog’s name, breed, age, name of the owner, address, vaccination data, and more.

“It will be injected subcutaneously, meaning under the skin. It is a simple procedure, just like a regular vaccination,” he said.

Calo likened the microchip to "roughly the size of a grain of rice, carrying a unique digital ID card. When the microchip is scanned, it transmits the data to a system."

Simply put, the microchip is a permanent, tamper-proof personal QR code for pet dogs.

City Veterinarian Dr. Charlemagne Calo informs the public that the use of microchip implants for dogs will kick off on October 7 in time for the city’s 23rd charter anniversary. (Screengrab via LGU Koronadal's Tingog sang Pagsanyog program)

Responsible Pet Ownership

Dr. Calo said that the move is compliant with the provisions of Republic Act 9482, or the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007.

“As we remember, we have mandatory dog registration in the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007. We just elevated it in the city; we’ll use high-tech microchips,” he said.

Under Section 5 of RA 9482, pet owners are required to submit their dogs for mandatory registration, maintain control over their dogs, and not allow them to roam the streets or any public place without a leash.

Dr. Calo noted that this will be implemented gradually because of budget concerns and that they lack manpower considering the city has 27 barangays.

Based on the city veterinary office records, the dog population in the city is over 20,000. “Hindi isang iglap pwede natin iimplement. Dadahan-dahanin natin ito. Hindi ito bibiglain [The implementation is not instantaneous. It's going to be gradual," he added.

The city vet also clarified that these microchips are not GPS tracking devices. “Iklaro ko lang. Hindi po siya GPS. Data lang po. Kailangan mo ma-scan ang aso para lumabas ang data [Let me clarify that this microchip is not a GPS but data only that you need to scan a dog for the data to be generated],” he explained.

While the microchip can’t guide an owner to the dog’s location, it can, however, provide a way for owners to be contacted, resulting in a decreased number of stray dogs in the city.

Koronadal City pet owners provide various opinions on the local government's plan to inject microchip-containing data implant into the skin of a dog.

Reactions from pet owners

A few people were asked about their opinions about the recent announcement by the local government to impose microchip implants on pets, stirring a range of reactions among pet owners in the community.

“Dogs are not just pets, but beloved members of the family," said Alanita Belgera of Brgy. San Isidro as she lauded the city government.

She believed it would contribute to responsible pet ownership, saying “it ensures that pets are properly identified and can be returned to their owners if they get lost. It's a no-brainer when it comes to responsible pet care."

For Gerry Adaya of Brgy. General Paulino Santos sees the microchip implant as not just about identification but as a protection against pet theft and ensuring that pets are protected in case of emergency.

“Sadly, pet theft is a reality, lalo na kung maganda ang breed ng aso mo [especially if you have a nice breed of dogs]. The microchip implant can deter potential thieves. It serves as indisputable proof of ownership, kasi naka-embed siya sa balat [since it is embedded in the skin], and kung may emergency mas madali sa veterinarian malaman ang medical history ng aso [in case of emergency, dogs can easily be located and it would be easier for vets to know a pet's medical history],” he said.

Meanwhile, Ainy Malala of Brgy. Topland considered this a potential financial burden, saying that the cost of implantation and registration could be prohibitive for some families.

“I support the idea, but not everyone can afford it,” she said.

While these residents agreed on the program’s positive impact, they also expressed a need for clearer guidelines and regulations on the implementation, with an emphasis on the importance of knowing what steps would be taken to address concerns, particularly privacy and cost.

According to Dr. Calo, owning a dog is a big responsibility, as he also saw the need to revisit the anti-rabies ordinance of the city to strike a balance between the benefits of pet microchipping and the concerns raised by the community.

Once implemented, a microchip may cost around P400, and the LGU will share a counterpart with the owner on these expenses.

Anti-Rabies Campaign

Based on World Health Organization (WHO) data, rabies causes around 59,000 human deaths per year worldwide.

Also, domestic dogs are responsible for the transmission of rabies to humans in up to 99 percent of the reported cases. “We must remember that rabies is zoonotic. It can spread to people from the saliva of infected animals,” the city veterinarian says.

Calo reminded pet owners that rabies is 100% preventable. “Be a responsible pet owner and vaccinate your dogs. This is the most cost-effective strategy to prevent rabies,” he said.

He said that the city government is just here to guide and remind pet owners, but the burden of task and responsibility really lies on the pet owners.

As part of their continuing anti-rabies campaign, the city veterinary office regularly conducts vaccination and animal birth control activities in their office and barangays.

Calo said that he joins the team in the house-to-house vaccination campaign in subdivisions even on weekends to ensure that they can cater to everyone.

Symposiums and other information campaigns about rabies are also being conducted in schools to encourage the younger generation to be responsible pet owners.

As of September 2023, the city veterinary office had already vaccinated a total of 12,353 pets as part of their ongoing anti-rabies campaign. With the series of activities already set for the following months, the city veterinary office is confident of surpassing last year’s accomplishment of 13,636 vaccinations before the year ends. (ORVR - PIA Region 12)

About the Author

Oliver Ross Rivera


Region 12

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