ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Winnebago County Animal Services has received over 4900 lost cats and dogs this year, many of which had no form of identification making it nearly impossible for the shelter to find their owners. When pets don’t have identification, Animal Services relies heavily upon pet owners to regularly visit the shelter to look for their lost pet.
Having identification on your cat or dog can help your pet get back home faster and may cost you less to reclaim them. It’s very important to have identification on your pet during the holidays, especially if you are traveling. Common types of pet identification include a rabies tag, microchip, or name tag.
A rabies tag is a link to your address and phone number and is attached to your pet’s collar. It’s important to keep your address and phone number current with your local Animal Services agency. A rabies tag also shows that your pet is currently vaccinated against rabies, which is a virus that affects the brain and can be passed from animals to people. Winnebago County residents are required to vaccinate any cat or dog four months or older for rabies every year and purchase a county rabies tag.
Microchips are a permanent form of identification and are implanted under the skin of the cat or dog. A microchip is the size of a grain of rice. Shelters in Illinois are required to scan all cats and dogs when impounded and before they are adopted or euthanized. Veterinary clinics also have scanners and can scan a lost pet. A universal scanner will pick up microchips from the different manufacturers.
Winnebago County Animal Services microchips all cats and dogs adopted or reclaimed from their facility. It is important for pet owners to register their microchip with their local animal control and with the microchip manufacturer. Pet owners should always keep current address and phone number information on file at Animal Services, their veterinarian, and the microchip company.
At the very least, pet owners should purchase a name tag available online and at local pet stores with the pet owner’s current phone number engraved on it.
Winnebago County Animal Services encourages all pet owners to visit the shelter if they’ve lost a pet. For more information on lost pets, visit our website at www.wcasrock.org or call 815-319-4100.