In a lifesaving win for animals, Texas has officially passed into law a bill requiring animal shelters and releasing agencies, including rescues, to scan an animal in their custody for a microchip “as soon as practicable.” The act will officially take effect on September 1, 2021.

Alley Cat Allies President and Founder Becky Robinson wrote a letter of support for the bill, H.B. 204, to ensure Texas legislators were aware of the critical need for immediate microchip scanning protocol. Microchipped cats are 20 times more likely to be reunited with their families than cats who are not microchipped. However, success hinges on scanning for those microchips right away.

To see H.B. 204 pass is promising for the future reunions of cats and kittens, who are bonded to their families and deserve no less than every effort to bring them home. That goes for pet cats who live indoors with people and community cats who live outdoors with their feline families.

Since our founding, Alley Cat Allies has led the way in advocating for microchipping and for immediate microchip scanning in shelters, veterinary clinics, animal control agencies, and rescue organizations. For cats, who by nature are highly stressed by confinement or separation from their familiar environment, scanning without delay is especially vital.

If her microchip is found early, a cat not only has a higher chance of being reunited with her family, but also faces less risk of being killed in a shelter.

Through today’s decision, Texas demonstrates that these reunions are a priority, and affirms the responsibility of public and private animal shelters to return lost, stray, or stolen animals to their owners or caregivers. This is a victory not only for cats and kittens, but for the people who place trust in their local animal infrastructure to save lives and keep families together.

On behalf of our supporters in Texas, Texas residents who care about cats, and Texas’ animals, Alley Cat Allies thanks every lawmaker involved in passing H.B. 204. The new law will have a profound impact for animals and serve as an example for other states to follow.

Learn more about the power of microchips, join Alley Cat Allies’ Plan to Scan® campaign, and read inspiring stories of reunion made possible by a scan of a microchip.