Microchip event seeks to get lost pets home safely

microchip-webBy Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – The Town of Morinville is teaming with the Morinville Veterinary Clinic to promote the idea of pet owners having their dog or cat microchipped, a process that places a small implant the size of a grain of rice under the animal’s skin. It is a painless process that can make the difference between seeing a lost pet again or not. The clinic will be holding an open house June 9 where pet owners can have their animal microchipped for $25, $20 less than the standard rate.

Last year 83 stray dogs were brought in to the Morinville Vetrinary Clinic. Of those, only 13 had current dog licences and only 22 per cent had permanent ID in the form of a microchip or tattoo. Despite the low number of dogs with ID, the clinic was able to return 71 of the 83 to their owners. However, the return ratio for cats was not as promising. Of the 97 cats impounded in Morinville last year, only eight had identification. Only 14 of the 97 animals were returned to their owners.

Morinville Veterinary Clinic Practice Manager Denise Gallant said she encourages all pet owners to have the process done in order to avoid the pain that comes when a pet goes missing. “I can’t imagine losing my pets and not knowing where they are, knowing that someone found them and can’t get them back to me,” Gallant said, adding the microchip is important because it allows the pet to be identified directly back to the owner from anywhere in the world rather than the clinic where the procedure was done. “If my dog gets lost in Morinville and I happen to be travelling from Calgary, we [scan the] chip here and we can get that owner’s information.”

Although it is more common for pet owners to have their dog’s microchipped, Gallant said she would like to see more cat owners getting their pets implanted with a microchip. “A lot of people say ‘I’m not getting my cat microchipped because he is in an indoor cat,’” she said. “But how many times do you open your door and that indoor cat gets out? We have a real difficult time getting them back to their owners because a grey tabby is a grey tabby. You really have a hard time.”

Town supportive

Morinville’s Director of Corporate Operations, David Schaefer, said the Town would also like to see more pets microchipped, a process he believes will give people the best hope to get their lost animal back to them. “When it goes out to adoption, it doesn’t necessarily mean it gets adopted here in Morinville,” Schaefer said. “Pets are more than pets. They are family members. For seniors, it’s a companion. For youth, it’s the same thing. You’ve lost a member of your family and just as we would do a search for any other family member, with the microchipping and tattooing, it helps us return that animal.”

Beyond the desire to reunite local and regional pet owners with their missing pet, there is also a desire to lower the costs for the Town. “If the pet is microchipped or tattooed we can take the animal straight to the owner,” Schaefer said, adding the alternative is the animal being impounded for a number of days before being put up for adoption, all of which costs the Town and its ratepayers money.

Those interested in having their pet microchipped can do so at The Morinville Veterinary Clinic’s Open House June 9. The event runs from noon to 4 p.m. and will include clinic tours and a customer appreciation barbeque. The clinic is located at 9804 90 Avenue in Morinville’s industrial park.

Above: An implant the size of a grain of rice could be the difference between a missing pet being returned to its owners. Pet owners can have their animal microchipped at an upcoming Morinville Veterinary Clinic Open House June 9. – Morinville News Photo

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