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Rabies tags not always trackable

Posted October 1, 2008
Updated October 2, 2008

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— Rabies tags not only tell whether your pets have had their shots, they can also help identify them if they are lost. However, some animal advocates in Wake County say they worry about potential cracks in the tracking system.

By law, all rabies tag information is sent from veterinarians to county animal control departments. But look in a back office at Wake County Animal Control, and you can see where part of the problem is: Animal Control receives 90,000 rabies documents a year.

"This concerns me that there is some confusion,” Hope Hancock, SPCA of Wake County executive director, said of system.

Michael Williams, with the Wake County Animal Shelter, says some veterinarians may not keep records properly or are still doing things the old-fashioned way.

"We still have some vets in our community that do not track their information electronically. They all do it by hand,” Williams said.

For a while, there was someone on staff who focused on organizing rabies forms.

"They moved that position to the sheriff's department,” Williams said.

"We were led to believe there would be a computerized database in place,” Hancock said.

Animal Control officials say they had hoped to have an upgraded database by July, but there are still kinks to be worked out.

Williams says Animal Control is not required by law to keep a database.

In recent weeks, SPCA officials say two dogs with rabies tags could not be tracked. They recommend labeling your pets in other ways, such as with identification tags or implanted micro chips.

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  • k9sandQtrs Oct 2, 2008

    rabies.ncdhhs.gov/epi/rabies/control.html add the www. to the beginning and that's all you need to find which vet issued the tag. It's not difficult.

  • k9sandQtrs Oct 2, 2008

    I'm confused. Any time I've had to track down a tag, all you have to do is go online and there's a list of what tags were issued to which animal hospital. Then you just call that particular vet, and they normally will contact the owner.

  • threeps Oct 2, 2008

    This doggie is so adorable. I wish I could go get him and bring him to live with us, but my husband would have a FIT! Still, I wonder what shelter he is in.

  • kittiboo Oct 2, 2008

    Well, duh! Put a tag with your name and number on your pet's collar. You can get them for less than $10. They do need to streamline the system with tag numbers, but how hard is it to put an ID tag on your pet? My pets all have microchips (the cats don't wear collars) and that's a great option, too, if you can afford it.