Posted by tlhsny on April 4, 2015 at 8:35 AM
One of the scariest moments for a pet owner is when a family dog or cat runs away. They begin to search, stopping to ask neighbors if they have seen the pet, and sharing the pet's photo and information on Facebook pages.
They will hopefully contact their local Animal Shelter or Animal Control Officer to find out if anyone has called about their missing pet, and that is when the all important question is asked:
"Was your pet wearing any ID tags? Is it microchipped?"
The distraught owner realizes they should have had a name tag made. Or put the rabies tag on the pet's collar that the Vet gave them. Or paid a little extra money during that last Vet visit to have the pet microchipped.
Sadly, millions of unidentified dogs and cats are brought to animal shelters as strays across the country each year. Only 15% of these unidentified animals ever get to see their owners again.
Why is that? The answer is simple. These animals were not wearing any type of tag and were not microchipped.
The Tri-Lakes Humane Society takes in ~200-300 stray animals annually. 60-70% of these animals are not wearing any type of tags when they are brought in. Even fewer are microchipped. Both myself and the Shelter Staff are left to guess whom may own the dog or cat, and forced to wait to be contacted by the owner. For most of these stray dogs and cats, owners are never found and they are left unclaimed and homeless.
There are simple ways to help your pet have the chance to see you again if they ever run away and go missing:
- Make sure your pet wears a collar with a current ID name tag, rabies tag and Town issued Dog License tag. Use a safety (break away style) collar for cats.
- ID tags should have your name, phone numbers and address. You can have a name tag made at some pet supply stores like PetSmart or PetCo, or online (Visit our Links page for websites that sell pet tags.
- Always keep the current Rabies Tag your Vet gives to you after your pet receives their vaccination. If that is the only tag you have, put it on your pet's collar. A dog with a tag makes my day! I can quickly call the numbers, or find the address, while still in my vehicle with the dog. It is so great to be able to return an animal home immediately, without having to bring them into the Shelter.
- ALL Dogs over the age of 4 months must be LICENSED through the owner's home Town in New York State and in most other states. The tag you receive must be attached to your dog's collar. A Dog License can be purchased at your Town Clerk's office for a minimal fee, and is required to claim back a dog from Animal Shelters and Dog Pounds. Animal/Dog Control Officers like myself have to legally notify you if you dog is found and wearing a registered Dog License Tag. It is LEGAL PROOF OF OWNERSHIP, like a vehicle's license plate and registration sticker.
- Have your Vet microchip your pet. This simple procedure implants a tiny microchip under the skin, which can be detected by a handheld scanner at Animal Shelters and Vet Hospitals. Plus, they can NEVER lose it. Unfortunately, the microchip is NOT GPS technology, bu I believe the cost of having the microchip implanted and registered is worth every dollar spent! Stray animals are reunited with their owners 99% of the time at our Humane Society. I also carry a microchip scanner in my vehicle to be able to scan for microchips in animals that I find or pick up. This allows me to contact an owner right away and not have to take them to the Shelter to be held there.
- Keep your contact information and address updated. You can only be contacted about your pet if you have a current phone number and address listed on the tag, or registered with the microchip ID number or Town Dog License recorded at the Town Clerk's office. If you move, get a new tag made and contact the microchip company.
- When you plan to travel away from home with your pet, make sure you have current cell phone numbers, or alternate friend/family member's number listed on a pet's ID tag. Always include an alternate contact when registering a microchip. Write your cell phone number on a dog's collar with permanent marker if you can't get a tag made before a trip.
- Even indoor cats should have a collar with tags on and/or be microchipped. Many stray cats brought to our Shelter were indoor only pets that escaped from their house accidentally when a door was left open.
The Tri-Lakes Humane Society can provide you with a FREE ID tag for your pet! We also have collars and harnesses available! Contact our office at 891-0017, Email: [email protected],com, or stop by our facility. A list of Vets that provide microchipping can also be provided.
Your furry friends want to be by your side, safe and happy.
Don't wait before it's too late! Get a tag and chip for your pet.
Lena Bombard, TLHS Manager & Animal/Dog Control Officer