BAYTOWN, Texas (KTRK) -- Dozens of people lined up early on Sunday to get their pets microchipped for free in Baytown. This comes after the city council passed an ordinance requiring all pet owners to get their animals chipped before July 1.
Stephen Veselka and his daughter waited over three hours to get their puppy microchipped at the City of Baytown's Animal Services. He said organizers ran out the last time he attended this event before they got to him. It's a wait that he said was worth it.
"If for whatever reason, the dog got out and someone was to capture it and animal control picks 'em up, they're able to let you know, 'Hey, your dog is here,'" Veselka said. "They're just like your own kids or your family."
The shelter partnered with Best Friends Animal Society in Houston to provide free microchipping to the first 100 animals that showed up, funded mainly through donations. Lines began forming at least two hours before the event, with free vouchers running out in the first 30 minutes.
RELATED: Microchipping mandatory for all Houston dogs and cats starting on Feb. 1
"Some people can't afford microchips or vaccines, and they want to take care of their pets. But this gives them the ability to do that," said Candace Thomas, animal services manager for the City of Baytown Animal Services & Adoption Shelter.
READ ALSO: Microchipping mandatory for all Houston dogs and cats starting on Feb. 1
Animal advocates said the ordinance would help increase their chances of reuniting lost pets with their families. They explained that animal control officers could return found pets directly to their owners without subjecting them to a shelter environment.
"I used to work at a clinic, and we found a stray Husky in our parking lot. We scanned him and found a microchip and were able to reunite him with his owner, who said he had been missing for six months. It was really great to reunite them and see their faces when this is their pet that they've been missing for such a long time," Justin Gonzales, the shelter partnerships supervisor for Best Friends Animal Society in Houston, said.
SEE ALSO: Dog missing for 18 months reunited with Houston family thanks to microchip
Thomas says the next free microchipping event in Baytown will be on June 3.
However, with the demand, they'd like to plan more before then and will keep the public updated on the City of Baytown Animal Services & Adoption Shelter Facebook page.
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