Young-Williams Animal Center has equipped all Knox County and City of Knoxville Animal Control trucks with microchip scanners to help reunite lost pets and owners. The scanners were provided to Animal Control officers at a presentation at the shelter at 3201 Division St., on July 12.
Animal Control officers can use the scanners in the field to check lost and stray animals for a microchip. If a microchip is detected, officers can contact the owners and take the pet directly home.
“The ability to scan for microchips on-site will allow Animal Control officers to reunite lost pets with their owners much more quickly,” says Janet Testerman, CEO of Young-Williams Animal Center. “Not only does it expedite the safe return of these animals, it also prevents them from ever having to come to the shelter.
“This also allows us to more acutely dedicate our resources, including lost-and-found staff, intake procedures and shelter space, to animals who don’t have a microchip and need additional services and attention.”
Young-Williams Animal Center donated 15 microchip scanners, equipping all eight Knox County Animal Control trucks and seven City of Knoxville Animal Control trucks with the tools. The shelter purchased 11 scanners using the Petco Foundation life-saving grant and received four additional units from Mission Reunite, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to missing pet prevention and recovery.
Mission Reunite donated the scanners through its “Bring Them Home, Keep Them Home” program, of which Young-Williams was the first grant recipient.
“Having microchip scanners on our trucks is a win for everyone,” said Officer Keith Hogue, supervisor of the Knoxville Police Department Animal Control Unit. “This is a benefit for our officers who can more efficiently help return lost pets to owners; it reduces the strain on shelter resources where thousands of animals are brought annually; and it makes the process less stressful on the animals.
“This is why we recommend that every pet parent microchip each of their animals. It’s the identification tag that never falls off, and it can help us bring your beloved pet home to you more quickly. We’ve already experienced success in doing so thanks to these scanners.”
Any found animals suspected of being the victims of animal cruelty or neglect will continue to be taken directly to Young-Williams Animal Center for evaluation.
A microchip is a tiny radio-frequency identification chip embedded under an animal’s skin in a quick and painless procedure. The microchip stores a unique ID number that corresponds to the pet owner’s contact information on file with a microchip registry company. When a microchip scanner is passed over the skin of the pet, the scanner reads the chip’s unique ID code, the registry is called, and the registry company retrieves the pet owner’s contact information.
Young-Williams Animal Center provides discount microchipping to pet owners Monday-Friday from 1-5 p.m. at its 3201 Division St., location. The fee is $15, which includes microchip registration through Found Animals.