Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana


September 20, 2013

McGroarty: Tags, microchips provide ticket home for lost pets

Few strays are able to be returned to owners

Many pet owners know that sinking feeling, when they realize their best friend is missing. They ask neighbors, put up flyers, call the animal shelter. Their best hope is their wandering friend will saunter up the sidewalk, acting as if nothing has happened. Humane Society workers around the country have a simple solution to prevent this situation: tag and/or microchip your pet.At the Kokomo Humane Society, most of our lost animals arrive with no identification. Though we scan every animal for a microchip, only about 5 percent are chipped. Without identification, all we can do is hold strays for five days in the hope that the owner will have the good sense to look for their pet at the shelter. We rely on the pet owner to track down their pet and visit the animal shelter to see if their pet is there. If the dog or cat has a tag with a phone number on it, or a microchip that can be traced to an owner, then chances are it won’t be lost for very long.Identification tags are easy to get. Whenever a dog or cat gets a rabies shot at the veterinarian, a tag is given to the owner with an identifying number on it. Many vets will engrave a name and phone number on the tag. Since rabies shots are required by law, this is an automatic way to identify your pet.It’s important to remember that only a veterinarian can administer a rabies vaccination, so a visit to the vet is required in order to get this tag.Most pet supply stores and many discount stores sell identification tags. Owners can put any information they like on the tags, but it’s best to include the owner’s name, address, phone number and the pet’s name on the tag. And remember, a collar alone is not identification. The tags must be affixed to the collar to do any good.It’s a fact of life that dogs and cats may lose their collars and tags if they are out running loose. Or, a frequent scenario plays out when owners give their pets a bath. The collar and tags come off, the pet gets bathed, and the collar and tags don’t go back on until the pet is dry. In that time between bath and putting the collar back on, sometimes Fido or Fluffy wanders off. So, what happens if your pet, for whatever reason, loses the collar and tags?That’s where the microchip comes in. A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is encoded with a number. The chip is injected beneath the skin at the back of the pet’s neck. The Kokomo Humane Society and local veterinarians can microchip your pet. Call your vet or the Humane Society for more information. The owner gives contact information to the microchip company. If the pet is lost and taken to a vet’s office, an animal shelter, or a rescue that owns a scanner, the pet is scanned and a number can be seen on a screen. That number can be traced to the owner. This is not a GPS; we cannot trace the movement of your pets with a microchip (there are GPS systems available for pets, but they are pricy and require an ongoing subscription). But, provided the information on file is correct, we can return lost pets to their owners. Which brings us to an important issue. Whether you use a buckle collar and tags or a microchip, it’s important to maintain a correct address and telephone number with whomever issued the identification. There have been so many instances at the Humane Society when a dog or cat has had a tag or microchip, but the phone was no longer in service, or the address was wrong. At that point, all we can do is hold the animal for the required stray period and hope that the owner comes to the shelter. All the effort you’ve put into identifying your animal does absolutely no good if the information isn’t correct.Only about 18 percent of stray dogs and 2 percent of stray cats that come to the Kokomo Humane Society are returned to their owners. You, as a responsible pet guardian, can do your part to fix this. Keep current identification on your pets. Call the Humane Society if you lose your pets. Even if the animal is not at the animal shelter, there’s a chance that someone will call the shelter having found the pet and we can make a match without your animal ever having to enter the shelter. Best of all, take precautions to keep your pet with you — inside your home, on a leash, or in a fenced-in yard. Your dog or cat is a family member, and worth keeping with you!Jean McGroarty is the executive director of the Kokomo Humane Society.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 23, 2014

  • CECIL BOHANON: Spend down surplus? Been there, done that Back in 1998, the state of Indiana had more than $1.3 billion in surplus funds in its general account. This was about 57 days of state spending. The state had total surplus funds of more than $2 billion that was over 24 percent of its annual operatin

    July 23, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 22, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Indiana Democrats deal with divide on education On the face of it, the battles between Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and supporters and staff of Republican Gov. Mike Pence have been a unifying force for Indiana Democrats. But the scrapping has exposed a deep rift within the party o

    July 22, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: Is Evan Bayh contemplating another gubernatorial run? This could be the saga of “LeBron Bayh.”Like a thunderhead brewing in the distance, you could see this one coming. This was the progression: former state Democratic Chairman Dan Parker announces he will not become a candidate for mayor of Indianapoli

    July 21, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: Please go away already My wife is planning our summer vacation, which we will take in the fall. We took our spring vacation this summer. We got behind in 1984 and still haven't caught up. I don't have much input into the planning of these trips, but Mary Ellen did assign m

    July 21, 2014

  • ED VASICEK: Internet, and future of communication One morning, I was chatting with some retired folks and the subject of paying bills on the Internet came up. One woman said she disposed of her computer years ago and pays her bills by mail. I commented she could get by just fine doing that. The othe

    July 20, 2014

  • FAITH BRAUTIGAM: Learning from others' mistakes through literature If you’ve ever been locked out of somewhere — your home, your car, your workplace — I expect you could tell me all the details of the incident, even if it was years or decades ago. Why? Our brains remember major events, and it’s a big deal to be stra

    July 20, 2014

  • RAY DAY: We need to get tough Last year I said I was going to quit trying to do anything about the shooting off of fireworks in the neighborhoods. But as anyone who knows me can say, I don't give up on things that are of utmost danger. Here it was, a week before the Fourth of Jul

    July 19, 2014

  • LEE HAMILTON: Is this country doomed to ceaseless polarization? We Americans are trapped in a political dilemma. We all like representative democracy, but we don't much like the way it's performing. The reason for this dissatisfaction is clear. Polls in recent years detail a polarized nation, divided both ideolog

    July 18, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller