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Of the approximately 10 million companion animals who wander away from home each year, 6 – 8 million wind up in the shelter system. Only 15 percent of the dogs and 2 percent of the cats in U.S. shelters without some form of ID are ever reunited with their human families– a sad statistic which the American Humane Association is combatting by deeming the first Saturday in April Every Day is Tag Day.
Although ID tags have long been a tried and true method for returning missing pets, recent years have seen an upsurge in the popularity of microchipping. Mandatory in many countries (although still voluntary in the United States since its introduction in 2003), the microchip consists of a small electronic capsule containing a pet parent’s contact information and other vital data about the lost dog or cat which is embedded beneath the animals’ skin. Although the information can be easily retrieved by shelter staff, data which has not been updated to reflect a guardian’s current address or phone number can also mean heartache for both pets and their parents.
The American Humane Association invites all dog devotees and friends of felines to make every day tag day with the following suggestions:
- ensure that your canine or cat companion wears a collar which displays an ID tag, rabies tag and city/county license as well as your name, address and contact numbers for both daytime and evening hours.
- make sure that your dog’s or cat’s license, ID tag and microchip information is current. If you’ve moved, update your address and phone number.
- place a temporary tag on your tail-wagging chum with the phone number of a person who knows how to reach you if you are on the road.
- give a tag to your four-legged friend, even if he or she lives indoors. Many dogs and cats in shelters across America are lost indoor pets.
“Losing a pet is a nightmare for any pet owner, but pets with ID tags and microchips are much more likely to find their way home to their loving family,” states American Humane Association’s president and CEO, Dr. Robin Ganzert. “We cannot stress enough the importance of keeping these lifesaving items current. So please take a little time this Saturday to make sure your pets are equipped in the event they get separated from you. Let’s all work together to ‘Make Every Day Tag Day’ so more pets than ever can be reunited with their owners.”
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Photo Credit: ClipArt