Of the approximately 10 million companion animals who wander away from home each year, 6 – 8 million wind up in the shelter system. Only 15 percent of the dogs and 2 percent of the cats in U.S. shelters without some form of ID are ever reunited with their human families– a sad statistic which the American Humane Association is combating by deeming the first Saturday in April Every Day is Tag Day.
Although ID tags have long been a tried and true method for returning missing pets, recent years have seen an upsurge in the popularity of micro-chipping. Mandatory in many countries (although still voluntary in the United States since its introduction in 2003), the microchip consists of a small electronic capsule containing a pet parent’s contact information and other vital data about the lost dog or cat which is embedded beneath the animals’ skin. Although the information can be easily retrieved by shelter staff, data which has not been updated to reflect a guardian’s current address or phone number can also mean heartache for both pets and their parents.