Courtesy of Lost Dogs America and Helping Lost Pets
Every year more dogs are microchipped than the previous year. Some cities now require all dogs be chipped. So why are so many dogs with microchips sitting unclaimed in animal shelters?
A microchip has only one piece of information, a unique number. It does not have name and address information. The unique number is the means to retrieve the registration from a database. If the chip is registered, some chips are not, then it will have the name, contact information, and address of the owner. But, will it be current?
To update your dog’s registration, you need to know the chip number, the company that sold the chip, and their phone number. It may not occur to the family to update the chip. Maybe they never moved, just dropped the landline, which of course makes it very difficult to contact them if the phone number is disconnected.
Then there are chips which were are not registered because the owner didn’t think to do it or thought the shelter or a veterinarian did it for him. Some people don’t even know their dog has a chip.
So, as you can imagine, when a chipped dog is scanned, the registration may not immediately lead to the owner. That is a problem for shelter staff.
The staff may want to get the dog home, but they might not have the time or detective skills to find the owner. That is why Lost Dogs America and Helping Lost Pets have created a program to help shelter staff, and others, who need to find the owner of a chipped dog when the registration is incorrect or missing. All the shelter staff has to do is complete the form on MicrochipHelp.com and a trained volunteer will try to trace the owner.
Here are two recent success stories:
A Good Samaritan found a Yorkie named Georgina, per her chip, but the contact information was incorrect. The microchip detectives got the form and soon traced the owner.
It was a rapturous reunion as you can see from the photos. Georgina had been missing for four months. The owner put up flyers when her dog got lost, but heard nothing. Sometime after that, she moved. Before moving, the owner went to her neighbors and gave them her phone number in case her dog was ever found.
Georgina was with someone who cared for her, she was freshly groomed when found by the Good Samaritan. Whoever had her might have even had Georgina scanned, but tracing the owner was not simple. It would have taken hours of staff time. Not to bore you with the magic, but we could not find the owner through the registration either. However, the chip company gave us the name of the veterinarian who implanted the chip. That veterinarian had an additional contact number that led to a co-owner, who now no longer owned the dog, and that person gave us contact information for the owner.
Another case involves a shelter who contacts us at least once a week to trace a microchip. The dog in question was a purebred hunting dog. The dog’s handsome photo was posted on the shelter’s website and an “owner” soon showed up with kennel club papers to reclaim the dog. The owner’s name did not match the chip registration, but the claimant alleged the previous owner had sold the dog to him. Shelter staff asked us if we could try and trace the owner to verify this claim. In a very short time we found the real owner who said his Millie had been stolen and he was soon on his way to the shelter.
We asked the shelter director why she was suspicious of the person who had falsely claimed it was his dog. She said she had seen many hunting dogs come through the kennel and none was chipped. She just had a hunch this dog belonged on a couch.
Thanks to that hunch, Millie is home.
We are happy to help dogs like Georgina and Millie go home. It is also good community relations for the shelter or rescue. The media can’t seem to get enough of microchip reunions. So the next time you hear the dread message, “this number has been disconnected,” call for microchip help and get that dog home!