Michael Fortner came to the Wake County SPCA looking for help. His dogs were missing, and his kids were upset about it. His dogs were not equipped with microchips.
"Unfortunately, we're not seeing anywhere near the numbers that we would like to see," says Janet Herzberg, SPCA executive director. "Most of the animals that come into us are not microchipped."
A microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, can be injected between the shoulders of every dog and cat put up for adoption at the SPCA.
Unlike just a few years ago, there are now universal scanners which read the bar code on all brands of microchips.
Once detected, the pet's number can be matched with the owner through theAmerican Kennel Club'sdatabase. The chips have led to more than 1,200 pet recoveries in North Carolina alone.
"It's wonderful for us to know that we can scan that animal and put in a phone call," Herzberg says. "If the owner is home, they can be here within the time it takes them to get from here to home."
For some lost pets, it can mean the difference between life and death. Fortner got lucky. The SPCA tracked down P.V. and Legs at Wake County Animal Control. The happy reunion means Fortner can give microchips a second look.
"Well, I think it's neat as far as being able to keep up with them and track them," he says. "It definitely would have been beneficial today."
The national microchip database holds information on more than 600,000 pets.
Most veterinarians will implant the microchips for $20 to $30. In addition to microchips, the SPCA suggests collars with tags and pet tattoos to cover all the bases of identification.