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Microchips and pet tags help reunite pets with families,especially during natural disaster

Pet tags must have updated information, often pet owners move or change their phone number and forget to update the tags. 

Thousands of animals were left behind or displaced as a result of Hurricane Harvey, and many more will be in the same position following the floods and once the rain stops from the now tropical storm.

Some of these critters have been saved and reunited with their families thanks to some emerging heroes, rescue groups and shelters in the area. Many who were lost in the storm could behave been reunited quickermore quickly if they had a pet tag and microchip with updated contact information.

In this week’s pet palsPet Pals, we explain how microchips work and why this, along with a Petpet tag, can make sure your pet is prepared in the event they getit gets lost or severe weather hits the borderlandBorderland.

Annually, thousands of pets enter El Paso's Animal Services, the citiescity's shelter, and many of them are without a collar, pet I.DID or microchip. Those that do have these two items, with updated information, are quickly reunited them with their families, but owners often forget to update information when they move, change phone numbers or take in a pet that was re-homedrehomed by another family.

Pet tags are easy to find at any pet store and should have your petspet's name along with your address and phone number on the back. Most range between five$5 to ten dollars$10 and can be engraved on sight-site. It's important for owners to remember if you move or change your number to ensure to you get a new tag with the new information. Depending on the size of the tag, you can add more than one number, and there are even collars with plates that you can engrave with this information to avoid the possibility of a tag falling off or getting caught somewhere if a pet is lost.

As for the microchip, it is a mini radio-frequency identification transponder, the size of a rice grain, that's implanted in your petspet's back by a vet or at a shelter. Your pet's name, description, and your contact information is assigned to a chip number through the company whothat created it. Animal Control officers, shelters, vets and pet stores can scan ththeann scan the chip with a microchip scanner, which displays the chip number and allows them to contact the company and bring up this information, allowing them to contact you or the lost pet’s owner.

The issues are that sometimes this information isn't updated when people move or re-homerehome or relinquish their pets to a shelter, making it difficult when a lost pet is found or turned intoin to the shelter because there is no way to reach their family.

You can update the microchip by calling the company it's linked tooto. If you have the microchip number but don't remember the company, if it's linked to you, you can figure it out online. Some of the most popular microchip companies are Home Again, Pet Link or 24 Hour Pet Watch. If you don't have the microchip number at all, you can go to a vet or shelter so they it can scan the chip and give you the number or help you look up what company, it belongs to.

The city of El Paso requires pet owners to also register this information with El Paso Animal Services so that this information is also up to date in theirits system in the event your pet gets lost and endends up at the shelter or is found in the streets by animal controlAnimal Control officers. If you are a member of the U.S. Army or a member's spouse and live on post or in Militarymilitary housing, you must register your pets with Fort Bliss.

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