When shelters kill lost pets whose owners are trying to find them and it makes the news, shelter directors often attempt to blame the owner, stating that the pet should have been microchipped. The implication being that if the pet had been chipped, the shelter would have called the contact information associated with the chip before killing the animal and the owner could have had a chance to find out where the pet was while still alive. As if somehow that is in any way a reasonable explanation for why a pet was killed by someone whose job it is to provide shelter to lost pets. At any rate, it’s false. We know that pet killing facilities do not always call to get the contact information associated with a microchip before killing pets.
The Medina Co pound in Ohio has bragged about its very high lifesaving rate for dogs for some time, while stuffing cats into the gas chamber until the public recently shamed them into ending the barbaric practice. But numbers don’t tell the whole story, as evidenced in records obtained via FOIA request which show Medina Co was regularly killing dogs using incorrect dosages of Fatal Plus. Another dog record recently obtained via FOIA request shows a stray pet was impounded last summer when the finder brought him to the Medina Co pound:
The neutered cattle dog mix was picked up by a Good Sam who found him running loose. The Medina Co pound clearly scanned the dog for a chip, found it and noted the chip’s manufacturer and ID number on the records. Then they killed the dog, noting they didn’t have “time” to do their jobs and shelter him. There are no records indicating Medina Co ever contacted Home Again to obtain the contact information for anyone associated with the microchip.
When I shared this record with an animal advocate in OH, she contacted the chip manufacturer listed and was advised the chip had been implanted by a shelter in OH. She called that shelter and spoke to someone who looked up the chip’s ID number. The chip belonged to a dog named Gambit who had been adopted to a new owner. The new owner apparently did not register the chip in his name. The shelter records for Gambit contained a note that he was an “escape artist”. It seems plausible that Gambit escaped from his new owner’s home and was found by the Good Sam who brought him to the Medina Co pound. The shelter worker who spoke with the advocate said Medina Co had never contacted them about Gambit and if they had, the shelter would have picked him up right away.
Many pet owners do not understand how microchips work or the importance of registering them. This is one reason chip manufacturers keep the contact information of the facility where the pet received the chip – so even if the new owner doesn’t follow through with registration, there is still a contact for the pet in case of emergency. But Medina Co apparently couldn’t be bothered to make that phone call. Because they don’t have “time” to do their jobs. Too busy injecting dogs with insufficient amounts of Fatal Plus and gassing cats last summer, I guess. And while it’s understandable that a pet owner might not understand the significance of a microchip, workers at a taxpayer funded animal shelter definitely should.
Nobody WANTS to kill animals, except when it takes “time” to save them.