No Kill Huntsville has been in a monitoring mode since last year in the wake of tremendous progress made to save the lives of healthy and treatable animals at Huntsville Animal Services. Although we still have some concerns about program development and whether or not the progress achieved to date will prove to be sustainable, we genuinely commend Mayor Tommy Battle, City Administrator John Hamilton, Shelter Director Dr. Karen Sheppard and the shelter employees, volunteers, rescuers, adopters and donors in our community. The live release rate in 2017 has been 95% on average. That is a tremendous accomplishment and should be a source of community pride and support.
To show our support for Huntsville Animal Services and to help people in our community, we are proud to announce a July “Chipathon” to help people get pets microchipped at a drastically reduced cost. Almost every animal taken in by Huntsville Animal Services is or was owned by someone and just cannot be reunited with that person or family because the animal cannot be identified. When people have pets microchipped, it serves to: 1) keep them from entering our animal shelter at all, because they can be identified in the field; 2) get them out of the shelter and back home faster if they do end up in the shelter; 3) help local law enforcement officers get stolen animals back to their families; and 4) help local veterinary clinics and hospitals identify injured animals who have been brought to them for care. A microchip is not a GPS tracking device (although there are GPS collars available on the market). It is a small vial that is implanted under the skin which contains a unique identification code, much like a bar code. Animals are scanned for microchips and that allows authorities to determine the animal owner based on the registration data for the chip.
We hope everyone in our community will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to have pets chipped and keep them from being at risk at local animal shelters. South Memorial Veterinary Services (inside the Pet Depot on South Memorial Parkway) is performing microchipping for $20 (which includes registration) for the whole month of July. You can have your pets chipped by appointment or on a walk-in basis. You MUST register the microchip for it to be of any value and you must keep the registration information current.
We are hoping to do this event every year as a way of helping reduce intake at Huntsville Animal Services and to shorten the amount of time lost animals are displaced from their families. If your pet is not microchipped, consider this: the cost is comparable to purchasing a large bag of dog food or a couple of large containers of cat litter. If your pet goes missing and cannot be identified, he or she may never make it home. You may spend hours trying to find your lost pet by physically searching for him or her and by making signs and interacting with people on social media. If your pet ends up in a shelter, he or she may be destroyed simply because of lack of identification. Animals are at less risk of being destroyed in Huntsville than at any time in the history of the city, but the city has not made a commitment to no longer destroy healthy and treatable animals for space. If your pet travels outside of the county and into a less progressive area, he or she is very much at risk of being destroyed before you can find him or her.
Why risk it? If you love your pets or they are important to you, there really is no excuse to not microchip them to improve their chances of getting back to the safety and security of home. And you.
(images courtesy of the City of Huntsville and Becky Lyn Tegze)