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Davis Journal

Microchipping helps animal care reunite pets with their owners

Oct 22, 2021 08:26AM ● By Becky Ginos

KAYSVILLE—What can be worse for a pet owner than to lose their furry friend? If an animal has been microchipped chances are good for a pet to be reunited with its owner. 

“We’ve been doing microchipping for over a year now,” said Lisa LaGuess, office manager for Animal Care of Davis County. “But now we have access to the national database where we’re able to search for their number and reach out to whoever the microchip is registered to and get the animal home.”

In 2019, the shelter stay was about eight days, she said. “In 2020 it was 3.38 due to the fact that we have more tools to reunite the family member. Just because they have four legs, they're still like family.”

Microchipping is not a new thing, said LaGuess. “It takes time for society to accept. There’s a fear and people aren’t trusting because they see it as a GPS or tracking device. It’s not Big Brother. It’s purely to reunite your pet with you.”

When the chip is scanned a number pops up, she said. “We type that into the database to see if it’s registered. Now we microchip all of our animals. It’s part of the adoption fee. Then it’s up to you to register them. We can help with that. You need to keep it up to date in case you move.”

LaGuess said there was a Husky that had been missing for two years. “We ran the chip and found the owner. They drove very far to get the dog. It’s a very useful tool for the shelter.”

The chip is a little device about the size of a grain of rice, she said. “It’s minor, they’re tiny little things. We implant it between the shoulder blades. It takes a needle to implant but typically the animal doesn’t mind at all, especially if they get a treat. We scan over the top to make sure it’s working and give the information to the owner.”

Before they had access to the database, animal care officers would bring an animal in from the field and scan for a chip and then they had to try and figure out what company it was from, said LaGuess. “Then we had to reach out by phone. It was a lengthy process, especially when there are a lot of things to be done here.”

The ability to search the database is just another level for that process, she said. “It’s a step in streamlining the process.”

Pet owner’s information is protected, LaGuess said. “Only certain folks have access. There’s a double log in so it’s a two step process. That keeps everybody honest.”

Animal care officers can scan animals for a chip out in the field, she said. “If you left your dog in the backyard and the neighbor kid left the gate open you don’t know your dog is out. Officers can access the database in the field and reunite you with your pet so they don’t have to come to the shelter. Keeping animals out of the shelter is our goal.”

LaGuess said typically an animal's picture is posted within an hour of arriving at the shelter. “Look at our website if you’re looking for an animal.”

LaGuess is passionate about working at animal care. “I wake up every morning and say ‘whoo-hoo I get to go to the shelter.’ Do what you love and everything else falls into place.”