Did you know microchipping has been a successful tool in reuniting pets with their families, many of whom live miles away? Not too long ago, a purebred puppy was taken from a residence right here in Farmington. The owner purchased the puppy at a flea market 200 miles from here. However, the man who purchased the puppy didn’t know the individual selling it was not the owner and did not have permission to sell the animal. Later, we learned the original owner had microchipped the puppy, and when it was stolen from the Farmington residence, it was taken to a veterinarian who checked for a microchip. The veterinarian was able to find the puppy’s original owner, living more than 225 miles from Farmington.
Many stories have surfaced of people being reunited with their lost or stolen pets thanks to microchip technology. This is just one of several local stories. A few years ago, animal control officers found a dog that had been microchipped and discovered it was missing from Wyoming. The owners were happy to be reunited with their four-legged friend.
Microchipping has been successful in felines as well. Recently, the Farmington Animal Shelter received a cat that had been microchipped. The cat’s owners live in Arizona and had lost their pet while staying at a local RV park a year ago. The owners were contacted and their beloved pet was returned to them.
So what is a microchip and how does it work?
A microchip is an electronic chip about the size of a grain of rice. It’s injected under the animal’s skin, in the neck area, with a syringe. The injection is comparable to a vaccination. The cost to microchip your pet ranges from $25 to $50, depending on your vet. San Juan Animal League offers microchipping for $20 at their vaccination clinics. Dogs and cats adopted at the Farmington Animal Shelter are already microchipped, and the shelter will submit the new owner’s information to the microchip company. If you have your pet microchipped at your veterinarian, you or the vet will need to register your information with the microchip company.
In the event your pet is lost and taken to an animal shelter or vet, staff will use a chip scanner to determine if the animal has been microchipped. If a chip is present, a number shows up in the scanner’s display. The vet or animal shelter will then call a centralized phone number and the owner’s contact information will be provided.
Pet microchipping is a cost-effective and easy way to ensure your beloved pet is returned if he or she is lost. If you choose to microchip your pet, be sure your registration remains current. If you move or change your phone number, notify the microchip service of the changes. If your pet becomes lost, it’s likely you’ll receive a phone call telling you your pet has been recovered and is waiting for you at the animal shelter.
Robin Loev is a park ranger/animal control officer with the Farmington Police Department’s Park Ranger Animal Control Unit. He has been with the department since 2014 and has been with the city of Farmington since 2006.