Pet Alert: Fido's Microchip May Not Work as Planned

Cutting-edge microchip technology fails when human error is involved

Your pet will never go missing again. That was the promise when microchip technology became widely available nearly a decade ago.
The procedure was simple: A microscopic computer chip is implanted behind the dog or cat's ear that contains information about the dog's owners; including a phone number and home address. That way when Spot goes missing, animal rescuers can find out who he belongs to and reunite pet and owner.
But there's a flaw with the system. Animal shelters are finding that, in too many cases, pet owners are not filling out the forms that link their personal information with the chip in their pet -- leaving shelters with no way to reunite pet and owner.   
"About 40 percent of the stray dogs that do come in to the SPCA of Westchester are microchipped," said Shannon Laukhuf at the SPCA of Westchester. "However, I'd say about 60 percent of those microchips are never registered with their owners or the information is not up to date. So they pretty much go nowhere... its a dead end."
Laukhuf regularly sees dogs, and sometimes cats, come into the shelter with a chip, but with no useful information on it. 
"It is sad," she said. "Sometimes you look at the animals and you know that their owner's are searching and you think that someone has to be out there looking for these dogs."
Dog owner Jerry Galiano has been in that position quite a few times. His German Shepard, Sable, is a rambunctious rascal.  A runner. He gets lost from their Briar Cliff Manor home on a regular basis, but he always finds his way back because the microchip behind his ears is registered.  
"It's been a life saver, it really has," he said. "At least eight or nine times we've gotten to use the chip.. it's gotten her home."
The SPCA puts microchipped dogs up for adoption on a regular basis. That's how Barbara Strzepek found her Labrador mix, Jackson. He turned up at the SPCA of Westchester with an un-registered microchip.  After 10 days Strepek adopted him.
"You could tell he was loved.  He just needed to be loved enough to be registered."
Need help registering your pet's microchip? Click here for more information, or go to
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