TAMPA, Fla. — It can be an easy thing to forget. When you move or change a phone number, you have to update things like your driver’s license, mailing address, and even your Amazon account.
But, did you think about updating your pet’s microchip information?
Recently, a two-year-old Labrador Retriever mix named Betty was dropped off at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Her backstory is relatively unknown, but, the staff was relieved to learn she had a microchip. This would give her a better chance of being reunited with her family.
However, her microchip information didn’t show any address or phone number in the Tampa Bay area, or even in Florida. Her contact information was leading back to Waco, Texas, leaving the staff stumped.
When reaching out to the address and phone number her microchip was providing, the family on the other end of the line in Texas said she wasn’t their dog. Without an owner to claim her, HSTB had no choice but to put her up for adoption.
“If Betty had a microchip that was linked back to the right owners, the right address, the right phone numbers, we could get her back to her family. But, unfortunately, the information hasn’t been updated, so now she’s going to find a new family,” HSTB Marketing Manager Chrissy McLarty said.
At the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, outdated contact information is far too common.
Approximately 75 percent of the animals arriving at the shelter do not have a microchip. Of the 25 percent that does, nearly half have outdated contact information, giving animals a slim chance of returning home.
“If that microchip isn’t updated and the family’s contact information isn’t there, we’ll hold the dog for a few days, or up to a week. But, at that point, we’re not going to have the animal sit in the kennel waiting, so we have to rehome it,” McLarty explained.
The shelter strongly recommends having your pet microchipped. In the event your pet goes missing, it will give you a better chance of being reunited.
“We are really hoping that people can microchip their dogs. If you do take on the microchip, be sure to update it. That means when you move, if you change addresses, anything that might relocate that dog. If you’re relocating, that pet has to relocate with you,” McLarty said.
To update your pet’s microchip, contact the microchip registry your pet is enrolled with. You can visit the company’s website for information on how to update it, whether that be online or over the phone.
Betty is currently available for adoption. You can find more information about her here.
If you’d like to meet other animals available for adoption, HSTB is hosting "Bark In The Park" on Feb. 12 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shelter encourages you to bring your pets to this family-friendly event. All proceeds will benefit the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.