Once upon a time, there were limited options for the anguished owners of lost or missing pets. They could make posters, pin them on utility poles around town and hope. In a best-case scenario, the owner and their pet would be reunited after a Good Samaritan who had seen the poster found the cat or dog wandering in the neighborhood; or the stray ended up on someone’s doorstep and they called the number on its tag.
Luckily, advances in technology have changed all of that. Today many pets are microchipped, so it is easier to identify the animal and its owner. The Internet and social media platforms allow owners to notify huge numbers of people about their missing dog or cat. On the flip side, these tools also allow people who have found missing or lost pets to try to find their rightful owners.
Of course there are also all sorts of apps that have been specifically designed to ensure that lost dogs and cats are safely returned to their owners.
And now the Tennessee Department of Health has come up with another solution…
Web-based resource uses info from rabies tags
According to information on a Tennessee TV station’s website, the state health department has created a new tool that lets someone who has found a dog or cat locate its owner by using the information on the animal’s rabies tag.
“Those who find stray pets wearing TDH rabies tags can now use this tool on the TDH website to search for and identify the veterinarians who vaccinated the animals, who can then help with information to find the owners,” NewsChannel9 reports.
The only downside to this is that the health department isn’t the only agency that issues rabies tags. So even if a stray dog or cat has one, it could very well be from another agency. In fact, that’s likely to be the case in Tennessee municipalities that have independent licensing protocols.
If someone finds an animal with a rabies tag that’s issued by an agency other than the health department, however, they should call the phone number provided. That way, the issuing agency can help reunite the dog or cat with its family.
Beat the odds
According to the ASPCA, approximately 710,00 stray dogs and cats that end up in shelters are reunited with their owners. Of those, most are dogs (620,000). The agency estimates that only 90,000 stray cats in shelters are returned to their rightful owners.
American Humane Association estimates cited on petfinder.com indicate that millions of American dogs and cats are lost or stolen each year. Furthermore, “one in three pets will become lost at some point in their life.”
What can’t be quantified or qualified is the heartache pet owners experience when their dog or cat disappears… or the joy when they’re reunited.