Technology could bring lost dogs home

Ren, an Australian shepherd, is hanging out at the Kitsap Humane Society these days. He was found near downtown Bremerton wandering the streets and taken to the humane society. It’s obvious that he was a pet because he has a microchip inserted under his skin that was registered in a national database. The registration included his owner’s name and home and work phone numbers, said Dana Lerma, development manager of the humane society.

Unfortunately for Ren, his owner died and Ren was given away, and that’s where the information trail in his chip ended.

Hence, Ren’s new home is the humane society, where he’ll remain until he is adopted or his owners find him.

For those who work in animal rescue, like Elia Ginn of Animal Rescue Families, the microchip is a God-send. The microchips are inserted through an epidermic needle near a cat or a dog’s ear. The chip has information about the animal and the animal’s owner, including contact information in case the animal is ever lost. The owner must then register the chip with a national databank. The information on how to register the chip is given when the microchip is implanted.

“It’s your responsibility to register your dog (or cat) with the database,” Ginn said. It usually takes about six weeks for the registration to go through. Unfortunately, like Ren, some animals are microchipped, but not registered with the database or the information is out of date.

Another local case had a much happier ending. On July 4, Bremerton resident Doyle Detroit had a frightened young husky mix show up in his neighborhood.

“As the fireworks started, he frantically went from house to house, begging to be let in,” Detroit wrote in an e-mail. “Neighbors made five calls to animal control, but they were busy with injured animals.”

Doyle eventually leashed the dog to a tree and fed and watered it. Eventually, Doyle called the humane society.

Fortunately, the dog had a microchip. Unfortunately, the record of the chip was not in the computer database.

Lerma had to go over hard-copies of microchip information to find the owner. By Thursday, the dog was safe at home.

Lerma said getting pets a microchip and registering it in the national database is the only sure-fire way to keep pets safe. While collars and identification tags also are recommended, dogs and cats don’t always wear them.

“I wish everyone would microchip their pets,” Lerma said. “These people (with unregistered microchips) really love their pets. They are not negligent.”

Some pet owners say their animals never go outside, or sometimes the pets sneak outside after a bath.

There was a time when the microchips were automatically inserted into every pet adopted from the humane society, but the cost got to be too much. Now, pet adoptees can choose to get the microchip and pay a $25 fee.

The humane society is sponsoring a microchip clinic this September. For more information, go to the human society’s Web site at

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