Too many dogs and cats die in pounds around Australia every week. Dogs and cats are put to sleep in pounds because they are unclaimed by their owners. They are unclaimed because they are not microchipped, registered or identified in any way and often not desexed, or their microchip details are out of date, thus it is important to ensure that your pets are all microchipped and that your contact details on the microchip are up to date.

A microchip is a small, electronic chip about the same size as a grain of rice. The microchip is activated by a scanner that is passed over the area, and the radiowaves put out by the scanner activate the chip. Once the chip has been implanted in your pet it is virtually impossible to lose it. If kept up to date with your current contact details, the microchip is a wonderful invention to reunite animals lost with their rightful owners. As it is the law to have your pet dog or cat microchipped, the chances are much higher these days that a stray pet will be microchipped. There is one drawback…. a pet that has been found, needs to be presented to a body with a scanner (ie rangers, pounds, and veterinary hospitals) so that the contact details of the rightful owner can be retrieved. Unfortunately there are still a larger number of people who are scared to take strays to the pound or vet, as for some reason they are under the impression if no owner is found, the pet will be put down. This is not so. Re-homing is guaranteed up to 80 – 90% of the time by local organisations such as the Albury pound, Albury Dog and Cat Rescue and the RSPCA.

This is what happened to Larry the cat, who was found and not presented to a scanning body:

Larry was just a kitten, he’d been microchipped and vaccinated by a vet clinic who had sold him to an owner through their cat adoption scheme. Unfortunately he had not been desexed at that time.

At 4 months of age he started to roam, looking for a female cat and got lost. A lovely lady found him and took him in. For some reason it never occurred to her to take him anywhere to have him scanned.

The original owner was very upset, after Larry didn’t return home she started to ring the pound, the rangers and even all the vet clinics around Albury… no luck, he had disappeared and was presumed dead.

10 months later the original owner got a phone call, her cat had been discovered accidentally at the vets, as it was being booked in for desexing to stop him from roaming, impregnating other females and to prevent him from getting into any further cat fights. He had been scanned routinely by the admitting vet. The shock was great… by both the old and new owners. It was very emotional when the original owner came down to see her long lost cat. Larry didn’t recognise her, he had been away for too long and reluctantly and upset the original owner signed him over to the new owner

Please, if you find a stray, ring the rangers as a first line of call to see if the pet is chipped. Only the rangers have a multiscanner and access to all chipping agencies around Australia. This will ensure that all pets are reunited with their rightful owners.. . after all, that’s what chipping is all about.