A lost pet arrives at the shelter, no collar, no tags. Staff carefully scans for a microchip and the adrenaline starts to flow when the buzz indicates there is one! Quickly the number is checked in our computer system and if we don’t get a hit, we call the resource line to find the owner information. It doesn’t take long to learn what is on file, and we start dialing the phone to contact the owner. On a perfect day, it’s a quick hop from that phone call to a happy reunion. But all too often, it isn’t a good day…
The phone number is disconnected or has been reassigned to someone new. We search for matching “lost” reports, checking the various avenues people contact us to report a lost pet. Unfortunately many folks only contact one of the many online groups when they have lost (or found!) a pet. As the pet is being processed into the shelter, we share the photo on facebook (if it is a dog) or to our website (if it is a cat).
We research the information we have in a myriad of avenues to make contact with the owner, and lots of times it pays off. Other times, it doesn’t, and we hold the pet for 7 days hoping the owner calls and if not, we begin the search for the perfect new home. At adoption, the new owner’s information enters our software and is linked with the chip, and we try hard to impress on the owner the need to contact us and the chip company if they have a change of phone or address.
Occasionally during our search for the owner, and after it pops up on facebook or our site, several people will show up claiming ownership. Of course we simply cannot give them to anyone who walks in the door. We are obeying the law and waiting for the owner to surface. (And, yes, we do get yelled at for that.)
Please know that not everyone brings a pet they wandered upon into the shelter. IF YOUR MICROCHIP INFORMATION ISN’T CURRENT OR IF YOUR PET DOESN’T HAVE ONE, you may never see it again. On the other hand, we have an increasing number of finder’s keeping or rehoming through Craigslist and when it does eventually enter a shelter when the novelty wears off, the chip will help us get it back home.
**Please note that other people not assigned to receive and impound strays also have microchip scanners, but are not affiliated with HSMC, the designated contracted impoundment facility for county lost dogs (or cats in contracted municipalities)**
So let’s get to the point of this post:
If your pet is not micro-chipped, please do it. We offer micro-chipping at HSMC for $10 plus tax.
If your pets are micro-chipped…HOORAY FOR YOU!
Maybe put a tickler on the calendar for daylight savings times to check that your info hasn’t changed. And definitely put it on the “to do” list for moving…or even on your vaccination and license dates.