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Microchip identifies stolen dog

July 1st, 2005, 10:18 AM
I'm posting an article to appeared in today's Halifax Herald. It was a toss up whether I should include in this section or in the 'newspaper' section, as it relates to both. Mod's please feel free to move if appropriate.

One dog owner's joy is another's heartbreak

By BARRY DOREY / Staff Reporter

When Jennifer Lussing decided to adopt a puppy, she had no idea that the process would reveal an abduction, a high-tech microchip and intrigue that reached all the way to Ontario.

But that's what happened when the Three Fathom Harbour woman and husband William Cooper chose Jagger - a boxer mix - this week at the Metro SPCA.

After their single day as new pet owners, a vet detected a microchip in the animal during a checkup. It identified him as Dakota, whose owner had reported him stolen from an Ottawa home in April.

"So there we are standing with our new puppy, I'm crying my eyes out because, obviously, we can't keep him," Ms. Lussing said in an interview Thursday.

Through data linked to the microchip, the dog's owner was identified. She was reached on the phone a short time later.

"Here is this other woman on the other end of the line just crying out in delight," said Ms. Lussing.

"She was just so grateful. It made me feel good because I had been really upset that we had just lost this perfect dog."

The animal had either not been scanned for the ID device or it had been missed at several stages of his journey through capture to adoption.

Ms. Lussing, an animal lover who works with an Eastern Shore animal rescue group, said someone with municipal animal control - which picked up the dog running at large two weeks ago - or at the SPCA shelter in Dartmouth should have flagged the microchip.

It was only detected the day after the adoption was finalized when she asked a vet to place a microchip in the dog's skin.

"I just feel that this could have been prevented. There's a lot to be questioned about the SPCA."

There were no questions about the Ottawa woman's commitment.

Within hours, the dog was on a plane bound for Toronto and she was driving from Ottawa on Thursday night to pick him up. She could not be reached for comment.

The woman had continued looking for the dog since April, when he was swiped just 10 days before her wedding.

Dakota was to have been the ring bearer. Ms. Lussing said the Ottawa owners had trained the then-15-week-old puppy to deliver the ring on a pillow.

Ironically, it was about the same time that Ms. Lussing and Mr. Cooper started looking for a dog, searching shelters, but never quite finding the perfect animal.

They visited the SPCA last weekend and were at first hesitant about Jagger/Dakota because staff told them he was an American Staffordshire terrier mix.

The breed has taken its lumps in recent years, being characterized as a vicious breed by opponents who have tried to ban them.

"We took him out for a walk and we basically fell in love with the dog," she said. "He was just a happy, happy puppy and we couldn't have been more pleased."

The reunion between Dakota and his owner was expedited by another twist of fate.

The president and CEO of Pet Health Inc., the company that makes microchips and maintains a huge database of animals tagged with them, happened to be visiting the Dartmouth vet clinic when Ms. Lussing showed up Thursday.

When the vet detected the microchip, he asked Mark Warren if it was one of his.

"It was definitely one of ours," Mr. Warren said Thursday. He rang the company's call centre, got the owner information and drove the dog to the airport.

He credited the vet clinic with checking first before installing a microchip and praised Ms. Lussing for "doing the right thing."

"Despite having adopted the dog here in Nova Scotia and clearly having fallen in love with the pet, she was prepared to do the right thing without any qualms," said Mr. Warren.

He said she committed herself to "responsible pet ownership" by choosing microchipping.

Nobody from the Metro SPCA could be reached for comment on its microchip scanning policy Thursday night.

July 1st, 2005, 10:27 AM
I heard about this! It's such a great story about why you should microchip your dog!

It shows what people do with puppies that are stolen, too! :mad:

July 1st, 2005, 10:29 AM
Good ending, but it is true that the SPCA could have saved the adopter from heartbreak if they had scanned the microchip. That's an example of why I completely cover up their phone number on the back of the City of Montreal dog licence. That's the LAST place I want my doggies to end up.

July 1st, 2005, 10:46 AM
I suspect that this is a case of "stuff happens" ... you know the stuff I mean :) . I've been volunteering at the above noted SPCA for a while and can tell you that they make every effort to determine the origins of the dogs that are picked up. However, in this case it appears as though something slipped.

This SPCA does not kill for space and as a result, are often jammed packed with dogs and cats. In the past 3 weeks they have been filled beyond capacity (many of the dogs available for adoption are in kennels at the back of the building as they have no room on the adoption floor). As well, they have more kittens / cats than they have space for. They operate with a daily staff of about 3, not including volunteers, who do all the day to day work (feeding, cleaning, walking, medicine, coordinating S/N, etc), so it is quite easy for something to be missed.

That said, after this incident I am certain that they will be reviewing their procedures in the hopes that this will not happen again.

July 1st, 2005, 11:32 AM
Glad it ended good BUT many don't!

Microchips move around and they really need to scan the shoulders, chest and armpit to look for the chip and find it.

I wonder how may dogs were PTS because they were lost and nobody found the microchip.

Good pup is back home :D

July 1st, 2005, 01:17 PM
Dunno about there, but here it's standard procedure to scan pretty much the entire body of the dog, just in case the microchip has shuffled around.

July 1st, 2005, 08:31 PM
Glad it ended good BUT many don't!

Microchips move around and they really need to scan the shoulders, chest and armpit to look for the chip and find it.

I'm going to hijack my own thread here :) .... if a microchip has the tendency to move about, has anyone heard of any cases where a chip has interfered with a dogs mobility, i.e if the chip were to move toward the shoulders, it is possible that it could interfer with the joint? Or because of the chip's small size will it just show as a small bump? I'm thinking in terms of a toy breed with little fat.

July 2nd, 2005, 01:46 AM
I heard of a case where a lost dog was adopted and rechipped.. and after the fact a chip was found in it's leg.

The dog was eventually reunited with the original owners, but it was even more heartbreaking because they'd had the dog for weeks.

Or another case where a dog was chipped and then the vet couldn't find it on a later examination.. it had slipped into the chest or something weird..

But when I bring stuff liek this up, I get told that it's rare. I'd just be worried that one of the rare cases could be my own dog..

September 13th, 2012, 06:51 AM
We are on the 'other side' of this issue.
GSD bolted from the yard; we have been told that she is being hidden til the heat dies down as the 'finder' knows she is being searched for and wants to keep her. All the Vet Clinics in the area (New Brunswick) have been provided with a photo and "Lost" poster, and have been asked to scan any new age and sex appropriate dog to their practice. The answers we are getting: No, only if the 'owner' requests it. So, tell me again-- mircochips are supposed to help you recover lost and/or stolen dogs, right?? Frustration beyond belief!

Dog Dancer
September 13th, 2012, 10:18 AM
How sad is that! You would think the vets would be happy to try and reunite a stolen pet with it's rightful guardian. Do they need to have permission to scan an animal? Obviously a thief wouldn't give permission and it would put the vet's in an awkward spot. Myself I'd be inclined to do it though and call the police if the scan showed it was a stolen dog. Good luck getting your dog back.

January 12th, 2013, 10:54 AM

This another stolen dog that got reunited with her family because the dog had a microchip . Some guy was trying to sell the dog and a good samaritan
brought the dog and took it to her vet and the dog had microchip and was returned to her family.

I hope the woman that had to return right to the owners got another dog from the shelter for free.