Due to some personal things going on over the past week I’ve been dealing with a couple different microchip companies and registries. Calling around I’ve learned some things about microchips that I really feel the need to pass along to my readers. It’s common knowledge that the chips aren’t ‘trackers’, you can’t track your pet’s movements through GPS (though this would be awesome and hopefully in the works) but it’s understood that this rice-sized implant holds valuable information as to the pet’s origin. The unique number is linked to ownership information in a database somewhere based on where the chip was registered. I, until this past week, was under the impression – as I’m sure many are – that these tiny data holders would hold onto my information only, making it easy to track the pet back to me, the dog’s original owner.
The secret… False sense of security.
In my search for something else I discovered that having only my information linked to the implanted chip is not exactly the case. If the chip is registered to me in one registry (RegistryA) and a finder so chooses, they can re-register the chip with another registry (RegistryB) and I’d be none the wiser. The original owner has no idea that the chip got re-registered in another name since the original registry doesn’t get flagged of the new registration. This new found knowledge is an eye opener and VERY concerning, no wonder chipping can’t be seen as proof of ownership from a legal standpoint.
Like many others I too thought this helped flag my pet as found when lost and gave a good chance of getting back to me. If the finder doesn’t contact the right database or there is a new registration, even if not rightful owner, your pet may be lost for good. When I called a registry to get a chip transferred into my name they just wanted my credit card number, no questions asked, even if the chip was registered with another person in another registry.
When I called the registry that had a record of said registration to another person that registry did say they’d be contacting original registrant for verification that they no longer own the dog. This policy was only done if you called a registry with an existing record of the registered microchip. I wish this procedure was across the board for all registries, they should respect the existing registration and inquire to the original registrant for permission, this could help get more dogs back to their families.
Just because your pet is chipped doesn’t mean they’re safe and will be returned if they were to get lost. Hopefully your pet is found by an honest person, should they get lost, and taken to a trusting vet who will help get your companion home. Even with this new information it’s still good to chip your pet as a form of backup identification but of course the truest safety is prevention. Make sure gates are locked, doors are closed, and fences are mended to prevent the unthinkable.
Get those chips registered.
Those microchips that aren’t registered won’t do anything for your pet if they’re not recorded with some database. When you’re searching for a database to use you want to stick with ones that are loaded into the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup found here: http://www.petmicrochiplookup.org/participating_companies.aspx. The AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup is where those chips are searched to find their registration information, your information for your pet. They are listed in chronological order so newest registration shows up first, so if registered in multiple databases/registries it will show where a result is pinged.
I used to recommend to my puppy buyers to use a paid service, most services you pay $20 to get registered in their database and for a year you get ‘premium services’, whatever those may be. Then you can pay yearly to keep those premium services or just let the subscription run out but your pet’s information and your contact is still in those databases so they’re still covered as far as if your pet is lost and scanned. I recently was informed of a free database that is loaded into the AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup, Michelson Found Animals Registry (found.org). I tested this out over the weekend and they do show up in the Universal lookup which is GREAT! Now there is no reason your chip shouldn’t be registered as a backup plan with the understanding there is no failsafe.