Pocatello Animal Services to host “Check the Chip” Day

Saturday event highlights importance of microchipping

By Sarah Glenn
For the Journal

POCATELLO –– Pocatello Animal Services can get anywhere from two to 20 lost animal reports per day. Whether or not that animal makes it home safely depends a lot on proper microchipping.

“We still do our best to find the owner, but unless they are actively looking it can be hard to reunite that pet,” said Danielle Garcia, Shelter Manager for Pocatello Animal Services.

The benefits of microchipping led Pocatello Animal Services to join in on a national trend. “Check the Chip” Day was started by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association.

According to a comprehensive research study from Ohio State University, dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9 percent of the time, whereas microchipped dogs were returned to their owners 52.2 percent of the time. Cats without microchips were reunited with their owners only 1.8 percent of the time, whereas microchipped cats went back home 38.5 percent of the time. 

However, the lead researcher on the study cautioned that the odds of reuniting with your pet only increase if the microchip’s information is accurate.

“In the study, the biggest reason owners couldn’t be found was because of an incorrect or disconnected phone number in the registration database,” said Linda Lord, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of veterinary preventive medicine at Ohio State University. “The chip is only as good as my ability as a pet owner to keep my information up to date in the registry.”

Updating registry information is one service that Pocatello Animal Services will be providing on Saturday.

“In our mobile society, addresses and phone numbers change often,” said City of Pocatello Animal Services Director, Mary Remer. “If your registration information is not up-to-date, the microchip doesn’t help.”

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., owners can bring their pets to the Pocatello Animal Shelter at 3100 Avenue of the Chiefs to have their microchips scanned. Staff members can check to make sure they are still reading correctly and also help owners learn how to update their registrations.

“We strongly believe in the use of microchips as the best identification for your pet in addition to the city pet license,” Remer said. “Our staff scans all animals brought to the shelter two to three times hoping to find a chip.”

Animals Services will also be selling and implanting AKC Reunite Microchips. The AKC chip costs $21.20 and includes a lifetime registration for the pet and an identification tag.

For each pet that is brought in and checked or microchipped, the owner will receive a free gift and be entered into a drawing for other prizes. Refreshments will also be served for humans and pets.

Although dogs and cats are the most commonly microchipped animals, Garcia added that other smaller animals such as rabbits and ferrets can also be microchipped if the owner prefers.

The paperwork process takes about 10 minutes, Garcia said and the microchipping itself takes five minutes or less.

For more information on Pocatello Animal Services you can visit their Facebook page or go to Pocatello.us/animal. 

Microchipping FAQs, Courtesy of the American Veterinary Medical Association

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