Microchips can help find Fido: Shelter provides free chips with adoptions | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Microchips can help find Fido: Shelter provides free chips with adoptions

Amanda Fehd
Lt. Robert Gerat, El Dorado County supervising animal control officer, scans a stray dog Wednesday at the shelter. / Photos by Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune

A new program at the El Dorado County Animal Control shelter means every cute pooch or kitty adopted out will come with an identifying microchip.

The nationwide average for owners reclaiming their lost pets from shelters is 5 percent. The other 95 percent are adopted or euthanized.

That rate is higher at the South Shore for dogs: About 60 percent return to their owners. But out of almost 400 cats the shelter sees each year, only two to three are ever collected by their owners. Around 200 animals are adopted each year.

Lt. Robert Gerat, supervising animal control officer, hopes to get their “owner redemption” rate higher.

“It’s about getting animals back to their owners,” Gerat said. “That’s the whole purpose of it.”

Two friendly German shepherds arrived at the shelter Wednesday without collars. Gerat found no chip during a scan, but within a half hour, the owner had called to see if her dogs were at the shelter.

Other animals aren’t so lucky, Gerat said.

The microchips measure a mere 2 by 11 millimeters and are inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades with a syringe. The procedure does not require anesthesia.

The chip’s installation is included in the price of adoption, currently $75 for a cat, and $90 for a dog plus a $15 dog license fee.

About 1 percent of pets has chips now.

The chip contains an ID number that is stored in a nationwide database of addresses and phone numbers of owners.

About half of shelters in the country have started installing the chips, Gerat said. The new program is retroactive for anyone who adopted a pet in the last year from the shelter. Those who adopted after July 1, 2005, may come in and have the chip inserted for free.

The animal shelter, which sees almost 1,000 pets a year, will only install the chips on cats and dogs they offer for adoption.

Most veterinarians will provide chips for pet owners.

If you go

What: Forum on Animal shelter

When: Wednesday, Aug. 16, 5 to 7 p.m.

Where: Department of Transportation conference room at 924-B Emerald Bay Road.

Why: Residents can hear details and discuss the shelter’s remodeling plans

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