I was up all last night unable to sleep. I woke up at 12am, lying eyes wide open so I check Facebook and see the most disturbing posts in a group dedicated to reuniting the Moore, OK Tornado Pets with their Parents. As of Friday the local shelters (kill) will have a 72 hour period for all pets and unclaimed tornado victims will be euthanized. The shelters are posting this information on Craigslist in hopes to help get the word out, however the families missing their pets don’t have a home, electricity, cars, or means to get to the shelters. Many of the volunteers are heartbroken and frantic trying to get the word out to celebrities, news, anyone with means to help save these pets.
Yes, I’m a typical animal lover. I’m angry, frustrated and I feel helpless here in San Diego not able to pick the dogs and cats up and bring them to my home until parents and owners are found. I can’t imagine losing everything AND my furbabies during a catastrophic event like the tornadoes in Oklahoma. I can’t imagine the thought of a shelter killing my furkid because I wasn’t able to get them in time. The rescue volunteers, their frustrations are valid.
So what can be done to prevent this? Living in San Diego we don’t have tornadoes or hurricanes but we do have Santa Anas, Wildfires, and Earthquakes that can very easily destroy communities and misplace beloved furfamily members. The following are steps we can take to prevent your pet being euthanized at a local kill shelter:
1. Name tags that include Name of Pet, Phone Number (Home and Cell), Address. The rescuer will have immediate access to your information and is able to call you. Cons: During an emergency you may have lost your home so home number won’t work, cell may have been left somewhere, deemed useless. Tag can fall off.
2. Rabies Tag. A rescuer can call the county and give them the ID number, in which they’ll be able track the owner. Cons: Number can rub off of tag, contact info isn’t always updated. Tag can fall off
3. Docupet Tag. I recieved samples of these tags, and am very interested in purchasing their tags and Pet Sitter Programs. This is a tag with a QR Code, when scanned your pets information is pulled up. It’s an online system the pet owner has full control over. When your pet is missing with a click of a button it notifies every vet in the area, your pet sitter, emergency contacts, etc in the area. And when the QR Code is scanned by a rescuer you will be notified the pet is found. Cons: Tag can fall off, information must be current.
4. Collar with name plate to include name of pet, phone number, address. Rescuer can easily see the plate (that doesn’t wear as easy as tags) to call owner. Cons: Phone numbers maybe useless in emergency situations and collar can come off.
5. Microchip. Possibly the most effective proactive step you will ever take for the safe return of your pet. The microchip is inserted into the back of the neck and all information will be at a vets fingertips (handheld scanner). I would make sure your using a program that is national and the information is not only saved at vets office, you want it saved on a larger systems. Examples of different programs: HomeAgain AKC Animal Recovery Program Avid Cons: Finder must take pet to vet to be scanned. Information must be current that includes emergency contact, vets, sitters, etc in case phones are down.
As a pet first aid & CPR insturctor and professional pet sitter I recommend all avenues be explored to help keep your pet safe, to help rescuers find you, your vet, or emergency contact as quickly as possible. For me, the microchip, DocuPet tag, and Rabies Tag can work together in the perfect trifecta of prevention.
Here at JenLovesPets, our hearts ache for the families, rescuers, etc that are looking for their pets and frantically trying to reunite pets with owners before they’re needlessly killed.