Microchips Matter But...
Losing a pet can be one of the scariest moments for a pet owner. I’m sure the vast majority of us can relate to the anxiety that sets in once you notice that your furry little friend is nowhere to be found. When this happens, we often picture the worst case scenario because it’s difficult to imagine being reunited when your pet has no means of effectively communicating to humans.
Not only does losing a pet cause a severe amount of stress for the pet owner, but it also has an adverse effect on the local animal services department. In our North America-wide study of the Pet Licensing Industry we learned that 62% of program managers feel that the most important reason to require pet licensing is for animal identification and welfare. This makes sense when you consider the high costs associated with overnight stays at shelters.
Being able to reunite pets quickly with their family eliminates the need for the prolonged panic of the pet owner, helps animal services focus on more dire cases and stray animals, and allows the pet to be reunited with its loving owner in a safe and happy home. It’s a rare win-win-win situation!
The American Humane Association estimates that 1 out of every 3 pets become lost at some point in their lifetime. Although this alone is a staggering figure, what is even more shocking is that according to the Coalition for Reuniting Pets and Families less than 23% of these lost pets are reunited with their owners.
This begs the question: how can pet owners ensure that more than just 23% of lost pets are finding their way home?
The two most common methods to ensure that your pet makes its way home are microchipping and pet licensing. Often times a jurisdiction feels as though one form of identification is enough for the pet to be reunited with its owner, however, this isn’t always the case.
Microchipping is a great form of permanent identification and pet owners should take advantage of this technology, but it doesn’t entirely solve the problem of getting lost pets home quickly (and at low or no cost).
In order for a microchipped pet to be identified, it has to be taken to either a veterinary clinic or a shelter. This means whoever initially came across the lost animal has no actual means of returning the pets themselves and becomes somewhat of an intermediary step - a “middle-pet finder” if you will. As soon as the animal arrives at the clinic or shelter, animal services begin to incur the costs associated with housing an animal. And although scanners have become more standardized in recent years, it is still common for the frequency of the microchip to be different than that of the scanner.
Therefore, although a pet may be microchipped there is still the possibility that the clinic or shelter cannot determine who the owner is. Lastly, as microchips are a lifetime solution for identification, pet owners rarely remember to update the microchip with their current contact information, meaning the out of date information on file may not provide reliable means of communication with the proper owner. Overall this process frequently involves many stakeholders, can often be faulty, and takes a long time, causing prolonged stress for the pet and pet owner.
Modernized Pet Licensing solutions such as DocuPet’s HomeSafe™ Program help to bypass many of these obstacles associated with microchipping. By placing a DocuPet tag on your pet ANYONE who comes across your wandering friend can quickly create a Lost Pet Report online which will be sent directly to your email and to our 24/7 HomeSafe™ team. With the availability of mobile smartphones, we can connect with pet owners the moment their lost pet is found, eliminating the intermediary steps and time associated with finding a microchip scanner. DocuPet monitors every report and will be in touch with you using all of the contact information you’ve provided to us.
Take for example the story of Willy. Willy is a 10-year-old diabetic and nearly blind Miniature Schnauzer. As reduced as his senses are, they didn't dampen his desire to explore the world. Recently, Willy snuck out of an open door. He was found wandering by a special needs class at a nearby elementary school. The kids helped to look up his profile, completed a Found Pet Report, and let Willy join their class until his guardian came and picked him up, it's as simple as that.
So, please encourage your pet owner community to both license and microchip their pets. We recommend having multiple methods of identification as this is the best way to ensure that pets in your community get home safely. If you’d like to learn more about DocuPet’s HomeSafe™ program and how it can help to reduce animal service burden in your community, please click here to learn more.