Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pets Can't Read Maps, and Don't Know Their Phone Numbers

We received two emails this week that just made me frustrated and sad. These weren't about cases of animal cruelty, or people trying to dispose of their pets because they had a baby or moving. While those reasons are common and infuriating, these two cases just make me realize how far we still have to go with educating pet owners.

The first was this email:

Dear AARF, We found the dogs standing in the middle of traffic in Tucker, GA. We took the dogs to a vet (DeKalb Animal Hospital) who scanned them for microchips. They had none, nor other identification. The vet guessed they were around three years old, and probably from the same litter. They are wearing collars with electric shock mechanisms. When fed a meal at the vets, they acted as if they hadn't eaten in a long time. They know the command SIT and took treats well. We will have to take them to the pound in the morning, as we cannot keep them.

Now, let's talk about the frustrating things in this email. First, these dogs had NO identification. No proper collar with a tag, no microchip, nothing. The only thing they were wearing was an electronic collar. I HATE electronic collars for so many reasons. (Click here to find out all of the reasons why I absolutely despise the use of shock collars as a method of containment, or for any reason, really.) My guess is that these dogs were left outside, in an unfenced area, when no one was home. Something peaked their interest and they ran through the boundary and tolerated the shock. Once they left their yard, why in the world would they cross the boundary and get shocked again to come back? So, off they went.

Because their owners relied on an ineffective containment method and neglected to put any kind of identification on them, these two dogs will now likely die at DeKalb County Animal Services.

The second email:

This is Oakley. He is a sweet, older male and was found with a pink Old Navy collar on, but no tags. His owner is listed as XXX, but the numbers are all wrong.

How did the rescuer know his name? Because he has a microchip! He was chipped at one of AARF's microchip clinics. We make the owners fill out the registration paperwork at the event, because about 70% of implanted microchips are never registered. But Oakley's owner moved at some point, and didn't bother to update her contact information. So, now sweet Oakley is in danger of ending up at animal control, because once again, his owner couldn't be bothered to put an ID tag on his collar and update his microchip information.

These are three dogs who should never be in the rescue system. They have families, somewhere. Because of their owners' negligence, they are now considers strays. And all three are at risk of dying in a shelter, because someone couldn't be bothered to put on a collar with an ID tag.

Don't let another 24 hours go by without outfitting your pets with proper identification. If your pet isn't microchipped, go to your vet for a chip or watch for our next microchip clinic. If your dog or cat is euthanized because he or she gets lost and has no ID, that's on you.

Remember, your pet doesn't know your phone number.

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