A WAY TO GET OUR PETS BACK HOME
First I cried, and then I got angry when I saw what happened to the animals during the Katrina aftermath. It reminded me of the pain and helplessness I felt ten years ago when one of my pets was stolen and I spent six miserable weeks searching for him. After that experience, I learned about the microchip and spent hundreds of hours trying to wake America up to the need to give our animals a voice to find their way back home. After about four years of intense effort, I decided there was no way I could pierce the veil of apathy, so I finally just gave up.
Katrina has brought me back to the subject and I feel pretty certain that I am now one out of millions of people that will demand laws to protect the lives of the animals we love.
The following details a system that would reunite countless animals with their owners after natural disasters as well as bring them back home when they get lost or stolen.
Itís as simple as one, two, and three.
Microchip all companion animals
First, we need an American Standard for manufacturers of chips sold in this country requiring that all chips be readable by a universal scanner. I understand appropriate regulations have been proposed via HR2744.
If another bill, HR 3858, is signed, it will require that "State and local emergency preparedness operational plans address the needs of individuals with household pets following a major disaster or emergency. " This mandate and one scanner that reads all chips are wonderful steps in the right direction, but they still donít provide the tools necessary to accomplish the task of rescuing and reuniting pets with their family.
I propose we need to amend the law requiring people to purchase worthless dog licenses and alternatively require that all companion animals be micro-chipped and registered. I propose that microchips be sold as they are today; from the manufacturer/distributor to veterinarian clinics, shelters, large breeders etc. I further propose, that at the time of original chip insertion, it be the present ownerís responsibility to register the animal and upon change of ownership, to complete and file the new ownership information with the registration service. Much the same as we do with DMV when we sell our automobiles.
One Registration service that includes requirement to update information.
The operative word here is "ONE", which is also the reason it needs to be a government operation similar to the Department of Motor Vehicles or Social Security. Today, we have so many corporate competitors attempting to reunite animals and their owners that we might as well have none. As more competitors enter this lucrative market, the situation will become even worse.
The government-operated Animal Services/Control Dept. should service the registration
database and mail out renewal invoices at regular intervals in order to update the database information and purge obsolete data.
The cost of the original registrations and renewals should be nominal and, because of sheer numbers, the income should be a profit center for the government. The fees should easily generate the funds necessary to properly service the system as well as fund other community benefits currently derived from the Animal Services Department.
One Web Site
Again, the important word is "One". Currently, depending upon the search engine used, a computer search for "Lost Pets" will give you anywhere from 11,000 to 739,000 possible sites. Again, by virtue of so many, there might as well be none.
Owners of lost pets should be able to call or email the Animal Services Registration Department servicing their district and for a nominal fee request that their pet chip number and an "R" indicating a reward is being offered to be immediately posted on a National Lost Pet List. This needs to be the one and only list that is well known as the place to go look when an animal is lost or found.
Motivated by the possibility of finding a listing of the chip number with an "R", every clerk in every grooming shop, every vet clinic, every pet store and every shelter would be anxious to scan all unknown animals and check the list in hopes of earning a reward in an amount that would remain unknown until it is verified they have the displaced pet. The financial incentive of this site alone would encourage a legion of people to make the effort to reunite animals with their owners.
For the nominal fees paid by pet owners, they would receive assurance of optimal chances to be reunited with their pet; not only after a crisis, but also when a pet simply becomes lost or stolen.
There are also many, many, other benefits from a program such as this. To name a few:
Stealing of animals would sharply decrease. Stolen pets are currently sold to research centers, shady breeders and shoddy retail outlets, none of which are anxious to purchase marked animals.
∑ Animal control or policemen that find pets that met their demise on our streets and roadways could scan the dead animal and notify the owners immediately.
When abused or abandoned animals are found, irresponsible owners could be traced and held accountable.
Is this a perfect system? Maybe not, but itís good, really good. Imagine, if you will, -- that all the Katrina animals, or even most of them, had been micro-chipped and properly registered prior to the hurricane. Had this been the case, they could have been rescued with the rest of their family, scanned on the spot, the owner given a claim check for his pets and all be taken to their respective temporary shelters. After the crisis, regardless of where each ended up, the national web site could have been used to reunite them.
I pray that you will embrace this vision as your own, and use everything in your power to get it implemented.
If I can help, please contact Lindi Biggi Ė www.lindibiggi.com