Position Statement on Identification of Companion Animals - BC SPCA
Search by
postal code:
Search our site:

Animal Helpline:


For all other calls and inquiries
see our contact details.

Find a BC SPCA location in your area:

Position Statement on Identification of Companion Animals

The BC SPCA endorses humane forms of companion animal identification (ID). Companion animals with ID are much more easily returned to their guardians and multiple forms of ID further enhance the chance of a successful return of the animal.

Where practical, companion animals should have at least one form of permanent identification. The BC SPCA recommends that all cats, dogs and rabbits have a microchip which is registered in a database. Additionally, the BC SPCA encourages non-permanent forms of ID such as pet ID tags on collars.

Approved by the Board of Directors – September 2015

(replaces previous version, August 2009)


The Society employs a number of strategies to promote companion animal identification. To begin with, all cats and dogs adopted from BC SPCA branches are microchipped and registered with the BC Pet Registry. The BC SPCA’s BC Pet Registry is a provincial permanent identification database which records microchip, tattoo and license information for cats, dogs and rabbits.

While there are multiple pet ID companies and systems operating across Canada, there is little to no integration between them, often complicating or delaying the return of animals to their guardians. BC Pet Registry offers a centralized, secure database for guardians to register their pets, thereby allowing veterinary clinics and animal shelters to access a single source of information.

By investing in permanent identification, the Society aims to reverse a trend that sees thousands of lost or stray animals enter shelters across the province each year, with no way of locating their guardians due to insufficient identification.

Microchipping is a more effective form of permanent identification as it is less time- consuming than a tattoo, does not fade or blur with age and does not require general anesthesia to administer.

Furthermore, the BC SPCA develops communication, education and advocacy messaging that urges guardians to have their animals properly identified. The Society also encourages municipalities to enact bylaws that make companion animal identification mandatory and to hold low-cost microchip clinics to make ID accessible to all.

Background updated – September 2015


Companion animals: Domesticated animals who have been selectively bred to live and thrive in mutually beneficial relationships with humans and who are kept primarily for the purpose of companionship.

Microchipping: An electronic system for permanently identifying pets using an integrated circuit inserted under the skin of an animal.