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AWLA Warns About Out-Of-Date Microchip Info

by ARLnow.com December 7, 2011 at 11:00 am 3,232 36 Comments

A stray dog was captured and returned to his owner in Arlington this week, but not without a bit of drama.

The large, black German Shepherd had an embedded microchip that’s supposed to tell animal control officers how to contact its owner. But the chip’s information was out of date — leading back to a registered owner in South Carolina who was no longer there.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) consulted a local directory and eventually found the owner living in Arlington. The man and his dog were then, at last, reunited.

The incident prompted the AWLA to issue to a reminder for pet owners.

“The League would like to remind owners to notify the microchip company that holds the database when their information has changed,” the organization said.

  • Confusing

    I tried to update the updated info for my cat but its really confusing and it costs money to update it as well.

    • AVer

      Microchips are not free and can cost about $15-$20 to change owner information. But you have to ask yourself whether that is worth being able to easily find you pet. For me, it is.

      • Confusing

        Good point. i’m definitely going to update the info on my pets microchip asap.

    • ok, but if you only had an ID tag on the pet’s collar it would cost you money too. You would have to drive to a store that has an ID tag machine and it would cost you about $5 plus the cost of the gas. So it costs a little bit more to change it, but didn’t the microchip cost a little bit more when you decided to get it in the first place?

  • Jillian

    I always updated my info when I moved – with HomeAgain it was always free to do via email… I also let them know when my cat died and they expressed condolences – nice!

    • Tabby

      HomeAgain charges $17 per year “membership.”

      I think that’s a ripoff.

      • Sam

        As you would. HomeAgain is a service-based membership program that offers more than just maintaining a database of owner information. It can be used by anyone with a microchipped pet. But, you probably didn’t bother checking out what it does before you decided it was a “ripoff”…..

        • Tabby

          Sam works for HomeAgain!!

          Spam alert!

          • Sam

            Nope – just hate to see people say or write such judgmental things when they have absolutely no idea what they are taking about – or won’t take the time to learn the facts before spouting off.

            Opinions are fine; but base your opinions on the facts, not just what you think you know.

          • Tabby

            I wrote the truth. You haven’t disputed it either.

            I was a member until I realized they keep charging…and for what? It’s not continual monitoring or anything. They take your info. Fine. Chrge for that. Then what? There should be no “annual fee”!

          • Sam

            You believing your version of the truth does not make it the truth.

            All it takes is a short visit to their website to find out what services are offered for their membership fee. It’s like AAA, you pay the membership in case you need it – when you need it, it can be a valuable service. It’s very clearly explained on their website for those who take the time to read and comprehend the service in which they plan to enroll.

            You are free to choose other data collection companies that house the data associated with the identifier on the chip. There are companies that do not charge an annual fee, but they also do not provide additional services. You get what you pay for.

          • County Board

            What are these ‘facts’ that you speak of? Our opinions are the only ones that matter anyway. The rest of you are peons and not worth our time.

          • Tabby

            If you don’t agree with “Sam” from HomeAgain, you are just wrong.

            And your opinion, and how you choose to spend your money, is wrong and you are not only delusional and/or a horrible liar but a terrible person.

  • Loocy

    Where is the best place to go to get my kitty microchipped? The Animal Welfare League doesn’t do it any more.

    • Microchips

      Any vet can provide them.

    • Sam

      Your veterinarian should be able to do it.

    • Loocy

      But is there somewhere I can go that does it as a low-cost clinic with a vet tech instead of a full vet visit? I don’t want to pay for a full vet visit for a ridiculously healthy indoor cat who has zero health issues and isn’t up for a routine visit any time soon.

      • Loocy

        The only reason I’m thinking of this now is that one of my kids’ friends let him out a couple weeks ago and I found him sitting on the back porch. He doesn’t usually try to go outside, but once in a while something piques his curiosity and he decides to check it out. We all know that he doesn’t go outside, but I want to be sure that he is identifiable if he ever does get out.

  • Tin Foil Hat

    I wish my own microchip could be remotely programmed. They Greys abduct me 2-3 times a year to reprogram the chip implanted at the base of my neck.

    • The GPS in your phone is tracking you, no worries.

    • Tabby

      You’re lucky you only got tagged in your neck.

  • Spamlet

    Just put a tag on your pet with your phone number on it. Pretty good odds that anyone finding the pet will call you.

    • You should do both. A collar and tag can be removed. A chip can’t. Medical testing labs are required to scan all dogs for chips. If they have one, they can’t legally use them for testing. People steal dogs to sell to labs too. If you have something other than a German Shepherd, Pit Bull, or other dog which may attack someone picking them up then you should chip them just for this protection. This is especially true for hounds.

      • Juanita de Talmas

        People steal dogs to sell to labs

        Is this really true? Sounds like an urban myth to me.

        • Piedmonter

          In some states, laboratories can buy dogs from shelters for testing. It’s shady business and wholly unethical.

          • Juanita de Talmas

            What are they testing? How valid are the results of said testing when you know little or nothing about your test subjects?

            (I am asking this is all seriousness; not being a troll.)

          • Do some research and google “dog laboratory testing”. Here’s one to get you started.


        • Sadly it is not.

      • ArlingtonChick

        Yeah, people definitely steal hounds. One of my friends had a chipped hound, and we think she was stolen. Luckily, every vet and shelter in a large radius knows, so if the person who stole the hound ever takes her to the vet (or anywhere, really), they will find the chip and hopefully the person would be prosecuted. It’s really quite sad that people steal dogs.

  • Vinh An Nguyen

    How do I find out if the chip in my pet is even still valid? The company that sold it could be out of business for all I know.

    • Sam

      You can take it to a vet or the shelter to be scanned. They should scan anywhere from the back of the head to the tail – and sometimes down the front legs – it’s rare, but on occassion, the chips can travel.

  • KalashniKEV

    I wish DC would tag their Bums so we can send them home every time they hop the metro to Courthouse and check into the mansion…

    • stacey

      Kalashnikev – that kind of comment is disgusting.

      • Andrew


      • KalashniKEV

        We all chip in… don’t you think it’s only right that they CHIP in???


  • Mkt Common

    I’d love to update the microchip for my dog, but the rescue group I got him from won’t do it. They want to keep the chip information in their name. That’s going to be great when I move away from the DC area, b/c it means I’ll have to stay in touch with the rescue group that’s totally staffed by volunteers.

    Next time I’m ready to get a pet, I’m buying it instead of going through a rescue group. That way, I’ll know the pet is really mine.


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