Local News

Rabies tags not always trackable

Some animal advocates say Wake County pet owners may not be able to trust that their pets' rabies tags will get them back home if they get lost.

Posted Updated

RALEIGH, N.C. — 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.