Ann Arbor’s Humane Society urges dog owners to use microchips after seeing lowest reunion rate in years

Wet dog on leash. Man walking with labrador retriever in rain. (JAROMIR CHALABALA, iStock)

ANN ARBOR – Humane Society of Huron Valley is urging local pet owners to microchip their pets after the shelter reported its lowest return-to-owner rate in years.

This year, HSHV has only been able to reunite 43% of lost dogs with their owners -- the lowest reunion rate in more than 20 years. HSHV is the only shelter for stray animals in Washtenaw County and Plymouth.

Shelter officials said that even dogs who do come to them with microchips often have incorrect information.

Such is the story of Hershey, a chocolate lab mix who was wandering around Barton Hills last week. He approached a person and sat on their porch, but it was found that he had no tag or microchip.

Hershey was recently found in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Humane Society of Huron Valley)

“This is preventable heartache,” HSHV CEO Tanya Hilgendorf said in a statement. “As an organization taking in lost animals, we believe our first job is to get animals back to the loving families they already have. Animals can’t tell us their address or their mom’s name. Their best ticket home is identification. Microchips result in hundreds of family reunions here at HSHV, are safe, inexpensive, and usually last a lifetime.”

Microchips can be placed at any veterinary clinic or at HSHV’s Low Cost Vaccine Clinic for only $20, according to an HSHV release. While microchips cannot do location tracking and are not GPS-enabled, they do help to identify the dog’s owner.

“It’s estimated that 1 in 3 pets gets lost sometime in their lifetime,” Hilgendorf said in a release. “So this happens to even the best pet owners. We can’t emphasize the importance of microchips enough—along with ensuring your contact information is updated.

“This troubling trend also adds to the overcrowding that we and other shelters are experiencing right now. These pups and kitties should be going back home, not sitting in our shelters waiting for new homes.”

If you lose your pet, you can make a report at or by calling 734-661-3545.

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About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.