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Shelter urges microchipping for pets

By Paul Huggins 340-2395

The device is as small as a grain of rice, but animal control officials say it can make a big difference in rescuing your lost pet.

It's a microchip that veterinarians insert under the pet's skin with a syringe. Once in place, it equips your pet with permanent identification.

"Microchipping is the single best way of locating your lost pet," said Mindy Gilbert, director of the Decatur Animal Shelter.

"Unlike collars or tags that get removed or get lost, it's there forever."

Unfortunately, she added, it's been slow to catch on and few of the lost pets the shelter receives have microchip IDs or other identification tags.

Since January, 1,642 stray or lost pets have come into the shelter and 309 were retrieved by their owners.

Local pet owners can improve that ratio Saturday during Walk Your Paws, which will feature a microchipping clinic administered by veterinarians Brian Story, Jan Strother and Elaine Moore.

The service costs $40, a slight discount from what veterinarians usually charge. The price includes the lifetime registration fee with HomeAgain pet recovery service.

Once the microchip is implanted, veterinarians and animal shelters can use a scanning device to retrieve information electronically placed in the microchip. The information will have the pet owner's name and contact information.

Gilbert urges microchip participants to fill out and mail in all registration forms because she has seen many pets with microchips that their owners never registered, thus making the service futile.

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