STOLEN BULLDOG, SICKERLVILLE NJ
Methods of Identification in Dogs
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There are some realities in the world that are beyond our control, and the bizarre incident in Tennessee underscores that. But there are steps we can take to safeguard our own pets, even in urban environments (or maybe especially in urban environments) like Newark.
1) A simple collar can make the difference between your dog being mistaken as a stray and being identified as lost. Make sure that your dog wears a collar that fits appropriately. Training collars like choke collars should not be worn all the time. A flat buckle collar or safety collar is your best bet.
2) Every dog should wear identification tags. There should be at least two tags: one tag with up-to-date contact information (if your dog has special needs, you may want to include that here) and a dog license tag. If your town does not license dogs, then this second tag should be an up-to-date rabies tag. These tags are the most visible proof that your dog is lost and your best chance at being reunited. It’s very important to keep all information up to date.
3) For a small fee, you can have a small microchip inserted under your dog’s skin. The vet uses a needle and the microchip is inserted like a vaccine, with only a small incidence of animals who reject the chip and must have it removed. This microchip contains an identification number which is kept in a database on the microchip issuer’s servers. If you call the company associated with the microchip (and there are several, each using a unique technology for their chip) and provide the microchip number, they can provide a rescuer or veterinarian with your contact information so that you can be reunited with your pet. This option is a greatbackup for animals who may lose their collars or other identification, or animals who have been stolen.
4) Do not leave dogs outside or in cars unattended. The temptation may be great to “just run in for a minute” but dogs are easily untied and stolen. Dogs left in cars have added dangers of becoming vulnerable during a car theft, a car break-in, or being stolen on their own merit. The best way to keep your pet safe is to keep her with you or leave her securely indoors.
5) Make your outside dog an inside dog. Countless pets are lost or stolen from yards. Some dogs dig, some dogs jump, some dogs manipulate gates and any of these dogs can get lost when on the other side of the fence. Often, it’s human error: the gate doesn’t latch correctly, someone forgets to shut a door, or the gate won’t lock allowing your dog an opportunity to get out—or an unscrupulous person to get in. Besides getting lost, loose dogs are at risk for injury and death from any number of hazards and dangers, including poisoning, exposure, and getting struck by cars. Even if you find your dog, he may be sick or injured and if your dog is picked up by animal control, in some municipalities, there is a loose dog fineyou have to pay to spring your friend from the canine clink.
Be responsible and be safe. Your pet will love you for it.
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