If a client shows up with a stray but doesn't want it scanned for a microchip, am I legally required or legally forbidden to scan the pet or contact the chip registrant?
There are two legal issues at work here, says Dr. Karl Salzsieder, JD, of Salzsieder Consulting and Legal Services in Kelso, Wash.:
If you scan all stray animals for microchips and the client objects to the scan, you can refuse treatment other than immediate emergency care to relieve pain and suffering. If you scan the pet and find a registrant other than the presenting client, Dr. Salzsieder says you can contact police. However, sometimes police won't take action on stolen property below a certain value. In this case, Dr. Salzsieder believes it's your duty to contact the registrant on your own. You can also contact animal control to see if a pet of the same description has been lost.