DATE: Sunday, March 26, 2017
SUBJECT: New Microchip Reader Helps Reunite Missing Dog from Illinois with Owner
CONTACT: Lt. Noah Robinson / Sgt. Kerri Blessinger
AUTHORITY: Sheriff David Wedding

Thanks to newly acquired microchip readers, the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office was able to reunite a missing Illinois pet with his family.

Last Saturday evening the Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence on Darmstadt Road near Highland School upon receiving report of a found dog. A concerned family had found a Great Pyrenees in their yard, but had no way to contact the owner as the dog was not wearing a collar.

Luckily for “Tuscy” (short for Tuscaloosa as we later learned), the Sheriff’s Office recently acquired microchip readers that allow sheriff’s deputies to scan micro-chipped pets and trace the identity of the owner. Not only was Tuscy chipped and his information current, we were able to contact the owner and advise him that we found his dog. When we informed Mr. Aaron O’Daniel that Tuscy was in Evansville, Indiana he was quite puzzled. Mr. O’Daniel explained that he last saw Tuscy around 3:00 PM at his house in Crossville, Illinois (which is nearly a hour away). Mr. O’Daniel had no idea how Tuscy made it to Evansville.

To verify ownership, Mr. O’Daniel described his dog to the deputy. Mr. O’Daniel explained that Tuscy had lived through the tornado that destroyed their home on February 28, 2017, but as a result Tuscy has a scar under his left eye. After confirming the description, Mr. O’Daniel was invited to Evansville to pick up his missing pet.

Deputies transported Tuscy to the Sheriff’s Command Post where he attended roll call and waited for his owner. Once Mr. O’Daniel arrived, Tuscy immediately recognized him. Mr. O’Daniel was very appreciative that Tuscy was found. Everyone wished Tuscy could tell us where he had been all day and how he made his way to Evansville.

Prior to receiving the pet scanners, a deputy who found a missing pet had few options other than checking with nearby neighbors or contacting Animal Control to have the pet placed at their facility. After 10 PM, an Animal Control Officer must be called in to respond to a request for assistance. Sergeant Kerri Blessinger explained, “The ability to quickly identify a pet’s owner saves us time and increases the chances of a pet being returned to his or her rightful owner.”

The pet microchips are tiny transponders that are implanted just under the pet’s skin. About the size of a grain of rice, the microchip is usually placed between the shoulder blades of the animal. Each microchip contains a registration number, which is displayed on the scanner’s LCD screen after being scanned. The Sheriff’s Office can then contact the chip company and obtain the owner information. Although there are several chip companies, the scanner is able to read the registration numbers regardless of the manufacturer.

Pets (canines and felines) that are adopted from area shelters and humane societies are often chipped prior to adoption. Vanderburgh County Animal Control, as well as most rescue centers, will chip your pet for a small fee. After adoption, pet owners can contact the respective chip company and have the pet owner information updated.  

Sheriff Dave Wedding stated, “Pets are valuable family members, the loss of which can cause much grief and stress. As a member of the local Animal Cruelty Taskforce, the Sheriff’s Office is excited about this new technology which will increase our ability to keep Vanderburgh County’s pets safe.”

Pet owners must keep chip information current in order to ensure lost pets are successfully reunited. Thanks to the microchip, even after losing his collar Tuscy still made it home safe and sound.