Microchipping Pets Doesn’t Always Ensure Their Return

When a pet goes missing, the owners might post “Lost” fliers, call their local animal shelters, or simply look up the animal’s microchip in hopes of finding them. While the last option is used more and more, some owners say the way in which the microchip system works is flawed, leaving people with little hope of finding their pets. 

NBC4 I-Team in Los Angeles reports the large number of companies manufacturing the small chips embedded with unique serial numbers has created an environment in which one system might not identify the chip made by a different manufacturer, keeping missing animals from being returned to their rightful owners.

While there are some universal microchip scanners, NBC4 found there is no single, shared database where veterinarians or shelter workers can enter the chip information to find an animal’s owner.

“It’s so many loopholes, it’s disorganized,” the owner of a missing dog said. “Come on, we’re information… We could do a lot better than this.”

The woman, whose dog Coco went missing a few weeks ago through a gap in her fence, says that despite microchipping her dog, she doubts she’ll be able to find her beloved pet.

“Some scan it, but they don’t have a system that says ‘Oh, this dog belongs to so and so,’” she said.

The owner of a startup aiming to fix the broken microchip system says the problem centers on a lack of communication between companies to the “detriment of millions and millions of pets.”

NBC4 reports that the issue is compounded by the fact that many pet owners don’t realize they have to register their pet’s serial number in a database and update the information anytime there’s a change of address or phone number.

When microchips include outdated information, it could lead to a dog or cat being euthanized, or adopted by a new owner.

Despite the loopholes and discrepancies between microchips and their readers, animal advocates maintain that lost pets with microchips have a better chance of returning home than those without the device.

Microchipping Not a Sure-Fire Way to Get Back a Lost Pet [NBC4]

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