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AKC and North Carolina Legislature Help Reunite Lost Pets With Passage Of Senate Bill 626

(Monday, July 29, 2013)

-- AKC Companion Animal Recovery Pledges
Free Universal Microchip Scanners to Shelters in Support --

Raleigh, NC — Thousands of North Carolina pet owners will now have a better chance of being reunited with their beloved ‘family members’ thanks to Senate Bill 626, which was sent to Governor Pat McCrory this week for his signature. The American Kennel Club® (AKC) worked with several lawmakers who sponsored the bill to ensure that shelters with access to microchip scanners are now required to scan a pet for a microchip and utilize that information to help reunite the pet with its owner.

In support of SB 626 - sponsored by North Carolina State Senators Floyd B. McKissick, Jr., Brent Jackson, Wesley Meredith and Mike Woodard - AKC Companion Animal Recovery (AKC CAR), the nation’s largest non-profit pet recovery service and based in Raleigh, pledged up to 20 universal microchip scanners to North Carolina shelters. AKC CAR has a history of assisting state shelters by donating 160 microchip scanners in the last four years.

“We’re pleased with this new state law as we’ve seen first-hand how scanning an animal entering a shelter, at least once for a microchip, greatly increases its chances at being reunited with its owner as well as reduce public shelter costs.” said Tom Sharp, CEO of AKC CAR.

During the legislative process to pass this bill, AKC Government Relations noticed that current North Carolina shelter law stated only that shelters that have access to microchip scanners “may” use them in order to help locate owners of animals taken into custody.

Because the “universal” microchip scanners now available allow for a single scanner to recognize nearly all microchips currently on the market in the United States, AKC urged the sponsors to amend the bill to “require” that shelters with microchip scanners use them to help reunite lost pets with their owners.  

“We thank Senator McKissick for the amendment to strengthen state shelter laws to ‘require’ pets be scanned. This change goes a long way toward helping pet owners of lost dogs and public shelters in our state,” said Sheila Goffe, Director of AKC Government Relations. “AKC strongly supports common sense measures like this across the country that will help reunite lost pets with their owners in all communities.”

“New universal scanner technology and the simple act of scanning a lost pet for a microchip is a common-sense solution to helping our animal shelters reunite lost pets with their owners,” said Senator McKissick. “AKC CAR’s donation of new scanners to North Carolina shelters shows how we can work together as a community to address animal issues.”

Not only do lost pets benefit, but stolen pets will too. According to the AKC CAR National Pet Theft Database, there has been a consistent rise in stolen pets over the past five years, some of which have been reunited with owners due to scanning the pet’s microchip in a shelter.

“My husband and I along with our dog, Fargo were staying away from home several months ago when Fargo took off,” said Patty McEwen, a North Carolina resident and enrollee of AKC CAR.  “Luckily, Fargo found a ‘friend’ who took him to get scanned. Thanks to his microchip and an available scanner, we were reunited with him in less than 2 hours.”

Lost pets with microchips are up to 20 times more likely to return home. Microchips, about the size of a grain of rice, are implanted between the shoulder blades of companion animals as identification. Most shelters scan pets for microchips as part of their intake process and owners are reunited with their pet if the number that appears on the scanner is enrolled in a pet recovery database like AKC Companion Animal Recovery. AKC CAR has reunited more than 400,000 lost pets since its inception in 1995 and has also donated scanners to shelters in Georgia and Illinois in connection with similar AKC legislative efforts. AKC reminds pet owners to microchip their dogs as early as possible and keep associated contact information up to date to ensure swift recovery.

North Carolina shelters interested in universal scanners can visit www.akccar.org/nccares to learn more. For more information about AKC Government Relations, visit www.akc.org/breeders/gov_relations.  For more information about microchipping or requesting a universal scanner donation from AKC Companion Animal Recovery, visit www.akccar.org.

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