Houston dog and cat owners are now required by city ordinance to microchip their pets. BARC, the City of Houston’s Animal Shelter and Adoption Center, is reminding the public that the year-long grace period for enforcing the City’s new mandatory microchipping requirement will end Wednesday, February 1, 2023. On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, Houston City Council unanimously approved updates to Chapter 6 of the City’s Code of Ordinances related to animal welfare, including mandatory microchipping. 

This change replaced the previously used license tags for all owned cats and dogs with a microchip, making it easier to return lost pets to their owners. Now, animal enforcement officers can reunite lost pets with their owners in the field, bypassing the need to bring them to the shelter for intake and care. 

“BARC knows you love your pets and want to make sure if they are ever lost or stolen, they can always come back home. Microchipping can make that happen. And it’s easy and inexpensive,” said Greg Damianoff, BARC Shelter Director. “Take your pets to BARC’s low cost wellness clinic or your personal vet, who will implant the microchip and explain how it works and how to register your information on HoustonBARC.com. That way, an animal welfare organization that finds your pet can scan their microchip and arrange for their safe return.” 

Microchipping your pet is now part of a three-step process to completing a pet registration with the city. The City of Houston Municipal Code requires that anyone who owns, keeps, possesses, or has control of a dog or cat four months of age or older must have his or her pet registered, vaccinated against rabies every year, and a registered microchip. Residents may also speak with their veterinarian or utilize BARC’s wellness clinic for more information on how to microchip their pet.