WESTERLY — Pet owners will have a chance to get their dogs and cats fitted with a microchip containing information that could help identify them if lost or provide information to professionals in an emergency situation.
The Westerly Animal Shelter and Stand Up For Animals will host the town’s first-ever microchipping clinic on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon in the community room at the shelter, 33 Larry Hirsch Lane in Westerly. The event is open to the public and services will be provided on a first come, first served basis. The cost of the installation is $40.
Westerly Animal Control Officer Art Smith said the event is designed to promote pet safety and noted that the technology is a good way to provide local officials with the information they need to assist dogs and cats.
“If your pet is ever lost, using a microchip reader is a standard part of our operating procedures,” Smith said. “If there is a chip installed, it can give officers the owner’s phone number, the animal’s name and a variety of other information that could help the pet return home safely.”
Dr. Cathy Moore of VCA Turco Animal Hospital in Westerly, the shelters’ associate veterinarian, will donate her time to the event and will be responsible for the microchip injections.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a microchip is a small, electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that is about the same size as a grain of rice. The microchip itself does not have a battery, but is activated by a scanner passed over the area and the radiowaves put out by the scanner activate the chip.
The chip then transmits the identification number to the scanner, which displays the number on the screen. That number is then used to obtain the information regarding the pet, as provided by owners during the chip registration process.
Microchips are installed using a hypodermic needle and are typically injected into the skin near an animal’s shoulder. The installation is safe and does not require surgery or any form of anesthesia.
Smith said those attending should expect a “fluid process” that takes only a few minutes. The chip will be injected immediately after residents pay the fee and owners will be given paperwork that they can complete either at the event or online to enter the appropriate information into the chip system.
“It’s really a great opportunity and it comes with very little risk. I’d certainly encourage residents to take advantage of it,” Smith said.
For more information on the microchipping process and how it works, visit avma.org.