Saturday, February 14, 2015

Pet Theft Awareness Day

February 14th is Pet Theft Awareness Day. Today I'm going to put on my Animal Control officer hat and give you a few tips.
#1: Don't leave your pets unattended.
Most thefts are simply a matter of opportunity. Thieves are like cockroaches: lowly creatures that prefer to stay unnoticed. Keep pets inside when you're not home, don't leave them in a car or tied up in front of the 7-11. I know, sounds simple right? Well, the next tip is even easier.
#2: Always keep collars and tags on your pets.
Yes, always. The two biggest excuses I hear are "My dog just got a bath" and "My cat never leaves the yard." Both are crap. If the dog is dry enough to go outside, he's dry enough to wear a collar. And cats don't care about property lines. However, if you follow tip #1 then it doesn't matter. Most of the "thefts" I deal with are actually cases where pets got out and the owners couldn't be located so the finders became keepers. Make it easy to return your pet! I say the next tip so often that I sound like a broken record.
#3: Microchip your pets.
Despite our best efforts, sometimes pets do get out and sometimes collars do come off. Microchips are a great back-up. (They should not be your only form of ID.) I return microchipped pets all the time. Please note: microchips only work if the information is valid. About 10% of the chipped animals I pick up never make it home because:
  • The chip was never registered
  • The phone number has been changed or disconnected
  • Owners moved and left no forwarding address
  • The registered owner gave the animal away (usually on Craigslist) and the registration was never transferred
Could this be you? If so, there's an easy fix -- check your chip today! Have your pet scanned. Nearly all vet clinics, animal shelters and animal control agencies have microchip scanners. Most Petsmart stores have a Banfield clinic inside. They'd be happy to scan your pet. Write down the number and call the microchip company right away. Tell the operator you want to verify and update the contact information (you'll make her day). It can get tricky if you don't remember which microchip company you have. You may need to make a few calls, but this should help:

Jedi's not going anywhere!
24 Pet Watch: The scanner reads a 10-digit alphanumeric code. The phone number is (866) 597-2424.

AKC Companion Animal Recovery: The scanner reads a 9-digit alphanumeric code beginning with TR. The phone number is (800) 252-7894.

AVID: The scanner reads a 9-digit alphanumeric code beginning with AVID. The phone number is (800) 336-2843.

Banfield True Paws: The scanner reads a 10-digit alphanumeric code beginning with 0D0D OR the scanner reads a 15-digit numeric code beginning with 98101. The phone number is (877) 567-8738.

Bayer resQ: The scanner reads a 15-digit numeric code beginning with 981. The phone number is (877) 738-5465.

Home Again: The scanner reads a 10-digit alphanumeric code OR the scanner reads a 15-digit numeric code beginning with 985. The phone number is (888) 466-3242.

I hope your pets never get lost -- stolen or otherwise. But if they do, please check out my post When Pets Go Missing. TTFN, -- K

P.S. Bayer resQ has the worst customer service. I've been on hold with them for 30+ minutes many times. They want you to do everything online (though not everything you need CAN be done online), and it takes hours to get back to you. If you can choose any other microchip for your pets, I suggest you do so and save everybody a headache.

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