Bella, Ruby, Tina and Sandy went to the free “ID Me” microchipping event for pets Saturday so their owners can find them more easily if they wander off and get lost.
St. Croix Animal Welfare Center offered the free tag and chip event as part of the ASPCA Challenge Competition they are taking part in. AWC is one of 50 shelters competing for $300,000 in multiple grant awards. One of the judging categories is successful reunions of strays with owners.
If a stray cat or dog is turned in at AWC, the first thing employees will do is scan the area between the animals’ shoulders to see if an ID microchip is embedded under the skin, so they can reunite pets with owners quickly.
At Rhythms at Rainbow Beach in Frederiksted, AWC volunteers and employees had to struggle with a couple of dogs who didn’t take kindly to having the chip inserted. Others weren’t fazed at all by the procedure which was done in minutes. The beach was a lovely place to walk the dogs after the procedure and children tagged along and took a dip in the sea.
"In 2010, AWC rescued more than 2,500 strays,” said Gretchen Sherrill, shelter coordinator. “The majority of these pets were not wearing a license nor were they microchipped, which made attempting to find owners extremely difficult. This event is one of several we have planned to try to combat this problem. With hurricane season on the horizon, it’s even more important for St. Croix pet owners to register their pets."
Operation Crucian Companion was sponsored by ePayment America credit card processing, providing licenses or microchips to the first 300 pets.
Volunteers said there was a bit of a bottleneck when they opened at 10 a.m. Sherrill said they embedded around 50 cats and dogs with chips and the remaining chips will be offered at another outreach mid island in late July.
Sen. Nereida “Nellie” Rivera-O’Reilly, a supporter of AWC, said the way people treat their animals tells what a society is like. “This will be a way to keep statistics of growth in the animal population,” Rivera-O’Reilly said.
In the competition AWC will provide 2010 shelter data for the ASPCA review on adoptions, reunited pets,and Pets from Paradise transfers and 2011 data for August through October.
Founded in 1973, the St Croix Animal Welfare Center promotes the humane treatment of animals in the St Croix community through education, animal protection, and community service.
For more information go to the AWC website.