A study published by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2009 found that having a microchip drastically increases the chance that the animal will be returned to its owner. Only about 22% of lost dogs that enter animal shelters are reunited with their families, but for microchipped dogs this jumps to over 52%. With lost cats, less than 2% are reunited with their families, but the return-to-owner rate for microchipped cats is over 38%.
“This is just another example of the top-notch services offered by the Bergen County Animal Shelter and Adoption Center,” said Freeholder David L. Ganz, who serves on the Health Services Committee. “Statistics show that 1 in 3 pets will become lost at some point during their life. We know that microchipping works, and is often the difference between owners finding their beloved pets again and heartbreak. I want to encourage all of our residents to consider getting their animals microchipped and registered.”
The cost of the microchip is included in adoption fees when a resident adopts an animal from the BCASAC. Pet owners who are New Jersey residents can also take advantage of the fast, low-cost procedure-- $25, compared to $50-75 at a veterinarian’s office-- at the BCASAC’s twice-monthly free Rabies Clinics and outreach events like Bark in the Park. In addition, the shelter’s partnerships allow for free lifetime registration with Home Again, which normally costs $20 per year.
The BCASCS has provided microchipping services for more than 10 years. According to Shelter Director Deb Yankow, the program has grown dramatically, with 1,500 chips implanted in 2014 and 2,200 chips in 2015. In 2016, the shelter aims to microchip 2,600 animals. Unlike many veterinary hospitals, the shelter also provides automatic registration with Home Again’s national database, which is key to ensuring microchip data is accessible to animal shelters, veterinary hospitals, and police stations across the country and increases the chances of the animal being successfully reunited. In addition, Home Again maintains a 24/7 live call center to assist owners who have lost their pets.
“We’ve had dogs come in from as far away as Texas,” said Yankow. “For many animal lovers, the thought of losing a pet is just like losing a child, worrying every day if they’re okay and wondering if you’ll ever see them again. This is an inexpensive procedure, less than the cost of a month’s worth of food. It’s a small price to pay to prevent going through that.”
Residents who are interested in BCASAC services like microchipping and free rabies vaccinations can visit the shelter website at http://www.co.bergen.nj.us/animalshelter.