How getting pets microchipped could help prevent future heartache, reunite animals with owners

Adoptive families not required to return pets to original owners

A Metro Detroit woman’s beloved service dog was lost, found by police, and then adopted out to another family by a Dearborn animal shelter.

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. – A Metro Detroit woman’s beloved service dog was lost, found by police, and then adopted out to another family by a Dearborn animal shelter.

Latonya Everhart lost her 14-year-old dog named Mr. Tipps the day of her mother’s funeral, March 13. Family was visiting her home when the dog made it out of the house.

When police found Mr. Tipps, he had a collar on, but his ID tag was missing. He was evaluated and put up for adoption.

When Everhart finally found her dog at Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit in Dearborn, she was told that he had recently been adopted and there was nothing she could do.

She is still holding out hope that the new owners will return her dog so they can be reunited.

READ MORE: Woman hopes new owners return lost service dog after Dearborn shelter adopts him out

So how can you make sure something like that doesn’t happen to your own pet?

Mr. Tipps was scanned for a microchip, but he didn’t have one. Getting a microchip for your pet is one thing you can do to keep them safe.

Chipping is relatively painless, and relatively inexpensive. It’s also a good idea to register your dog, buy a secure collar and make sure the ID tag is easy to read.

Why is microchipping your pet important?

The Michigan Humane Society shelters and cares for about 15,000 stray animals each year, according to its website. Only a small percent of lost dogs (16%) and cats (3%) are ever reunited with their guardians.

The humane society says that a majority of the animals that come to them lack any form of identification. Millions of unclaimed animals fill shelters and rescues across the country. The humane society estimates that about one-third of pets will get lost at some point in their life.

You should make sure that your dog or cat always wears a non-choke type of collar, a current identification tag and a license from your municipality. The humane society also encourages people to get their pets microchipped, which is a permanent and unalterable form of identification.

Microchipping is not a replacement for tags but is useful since collars and ID tags can fall off or be taken off.

READ: More Help Me Hank coverage

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.