December 18, 2012

Microchipping Returns Houston Pets to Owners


Losing a furry friend can be devastating. Thankfully, modern technology has made it easier to recover lost pets through microchips. These chips have enabled BARC Animal Shelter in Houston to return 265 pets to their owners since Aug. 1.The shelter estimates that it will receive 35,000 lost pets in 2013, and it is dedicating its efforts to ensuring that even more pets are returned to their owners next year.

BARC is working on finalizing a Lost Pet Initiative, which will raise awareness about microchipping pets. Christopher Newport, BARC Council liaison and public information officer says of the initiative, “We are going to give owners more resources to find their pets and announce their pets as missing so we can leverage Houston’s large community of animal lovers.”

According to HomeAgain, a microchip provider, 90 percent of lost pets never find their way home. For anyone who has a pet, this is a frightening prospect, as Halo Pet Foods’ blog reports that one in three pets go missing in their lifetime. The same blog post notes that 94 percent of pets who have been microchipped are returned to their owners.

Whether lost pets are adopted by a new family or they are euthanized, the heartbreak for the pet’s original family is the same. Based on the statistics available on microchipping, if BARC’s initiative helped every pet in the Houston area to be microchipped, 32,900 of the 35,000 projected lost pets in 2013 would be reunited with their families.

Microchips are not the only way that technology has helped owners find missing pets. The Pet Amber Alert, which notifies neighbors when a pet goes missing, is said to have a 70 percent success rate in recovering missing animals. The Chicago Tribune notes that beyond microchipping, technology like GPS tracking collars, the Lost Pet Tracker iPhone app, missing pet sites and even social networking sites and CraigsList have been effective in finding pets. While a microchip or other GPS-based devices are the most effective, owners whose pets go missing without any kind of tracking technology now have far better options available to them than stapling flyers around town.




Edited by Rachel Ramsey



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