When Jason Watkins’ and Tamara Hopkins’ microchipped male Boxer, Tyson, accidentally got loose in Pittsburgh, Ms. Hopkins began calling Animal Rescue League daily to ask whether an intact male Boxer had been brought in. Every day she says she was told no. The owners had planned to mate Tyson with a female Boxer they had recently purchased.
Records from Animal Rescue League show a male Boxer was brought in as a stray on August 16. A microchip scan turned up negative. On August 19, the dog underwent a behavioral evaluation and was re-scanned for a chip. This time the dog’s chip was located. But the owners were not contacted. Instead, ARL scheduled the dog for neuter surgery the next day and placed a new microchip in the dog.
When Mr. Watkins and Ms. Hopkins ultimately learned Tyson was at Animal Rescue League, they came to claim him:
“They handed us the paperwork and said they re-chipped our dog and neutered our stud dog,” Watkins said.
The ARL said a microchip doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get your lost pet back.
The ARL director said in a statement, “ID tags and microchips can help expedite returning an animal to its owner, but they’re not foolproof. Collars and tags can be removed. Microchips can escape detection.”
The director reportedly told the owners he was sorry and it was a “mistake”.
Although microchips can escape detection, in Tyson’s case a re-scan found the chip but ARL never contacted the owners. Do you think this case can accurately be described as a “mistake” or was something more nefarious afoot here?
We’ve had way too many stories on the blog involving oops-killings where the owner is trying to find their lost pet and the shelter kills them “by mistake”. Thankfully that tragedy did not befall Tyson. But does it seem plausible to you that Animal Rescue League oops-told the owner the dog wasn’t at the shelter, then oops-failed to contact the owner once the chip was found, then oops-neutered the dog and oops-microchipped him with their own chip?
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)