THE Animal Welfare Society, in partnership with Identipet, are running a campaign to microchip pets so owners can be tracked should their pets go missing. Picture: Tracey Adams African News Agency (ANA)
The feeling of having your beloved pet go missing is harrowing and, with Guy Fawkes just around the corner, it is even more daunting. To help alleviate the stress of losing your pet The Animal Welfare Society of South Africa (AWS SA) with Identipet will be running a mass pet microchipping drive open to all pet owners between October 15 and November 4.

“Thanks to this preferential deal (with Identipet) we are able to offer the service for a mere R100 per pet. This represents a meaningful saving and will be of benefit for the lifespan of the pet. The process is quick and painless and we have decided to run the campaign on a first come first served basis. The actual microchip is roughly the size of a grain of rice or smaller and suitable for all pets, not only cats and dogs” said Allan Perrins, spokesperson for AWS SA.

The campaign will be run from its headquarters in Papkuilsvlei Road, Philippi, and the microchips will be professionally inserted by para-veterinary personnel.

“Too many revellers ignore the law and are completely indifferent regarding the negative effects of letting off fireworks especially in residential areas resulting in what can best be described as a mass pet panic. All pets - not only dogs - are terrified of fireworks, especially loud crackers. A dog’s hearing is reportedly seven times more acute than that of a person so the sound of a cracker is significantly amplified, causing them immense distress and often triggering their instinctive flight reaction sometimes with fatal consequences as they try to escape the perceived or even real danger,” said Perrins.

The injuries sustained are often severe and life-threatening. He said the welfare had seen and treated dogs with horrific injuries who had jumped through window panes, been involved in motor vehicle accidents, become impaled on fence posts and worse. “Many pets simply engage their flight mode and run and keep on running and in the process get lost and injured.”

Angela O’Neale from Identipet explained with the chip it would be easy to source the owner of the lost pet because of the managed database. Owners are immediately informed via SMS when their pet’s microchip is scanned at a vet or welfare organisation. An anti-migration cap is also fitted to ensure the chip does not move from the site of the implant. The Identipet app lets owners update their details should they move.

The motivation for the campaign is because many pets have no, inadequate or unreliable identification which severely hampers the lost and found department process and the massive increase in the number of stray animals admitted over the Guy Fawkes period and New Year and this year they are determined to pro-actively reduce the number.

“We felt that we had to do something to mitigate this untenable situation which seems to get worse, not better with every Guy Fawkes. We subsequently decided to approach Identipet to see if they would be willing to partner with us and are delighted to confirm their participation and willingness to drastically rebate the cost price of their microchips,” said Perrins.

Since the partnership, the welfare organisation has microchipped tiny hamsters and a wide variety of pets other than cats and dogs.

TEARS Animal Rescue’s Leone Gradidge said there is a definite increase in the number of animals that are brought in lost during Guy Fawkes and microchips “are very safe for pets and once they are registered on the database it becomes easier to find their owners”.

For more information email [email protected]

Weekend Argus