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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  January 14, 2005
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The Investigators
It's supposed to give pet owners piece of mind- but does it?
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They're supposed to offer peace of mind if your pet is lost-tiny microchips implanted into your dog or cat containing all of your contact information. But what happens if the chip your pet received can't be detected? The Investigators reveal a missing link in pet scanners and tell you what the industry is doing about it.

Think about it- a 30 dollar microchip that could save your pets' life? A great idea- if it works. An Eyewitness News investigation reveals how an animal hospital inside a major pet store chain was selling a microchip that worked in most of the world- except the United States, and the consequences turned deadly.

Hayden, was part of Lisa Massey's family:

 ďż˝It's still very hard emotionally. I'm going to wake up every day and he's not there.ďż˝

Lisa had a microchip implanted into Hayden at a Banfield pet hospital-just in case he ever got lost without his collar. But when Hayden did runaway, and ended up in a shelter, the shelter didn't realize the scanner it was using couldn't detect the type of chip implanted by Banfield. So without any information about who he belonged to, Hayden was put to sleep.

Many of Banfield's 400 hospital's are located inside Petsmarts- where thousands of dogs and cats were getting microchips implanted. But there was one critical problem. Back in February the company began implanting the ISO chips before making sure there were enough scanners available to read them. A spokesperson from Banfield told the Eyewitness News Investigators, that the manufacturer of these chips "donated 1-thousand scanners" to shelters nationwide with the promise of more donations to follow..."that never happened."

�They're only as good as the information that the scanner picks up...�

Hillary Twining, with the coalition for reuniting pets and families, says as soon as word got out-they began warning pet owners nationwide about this oversight- and soon after Banfield stopped implanting the ISO microships. The coalition says Banfield's mishap did bring to the forfront the need for a universal scanner that will detect all microchips, but the pet care industry says it's the microchip manufacturers who are slow in distributing a scanner that can detect any chip.

�I think everyone is concerned about protecting their technology, but the consumers, the pet owning public, and the shelters...it's not going to be useful to them if they don't start to comply.�

Many Banfield pet hospitals are now using a different type of microchip that can be detected by most shelters in the United States, we confirmed that during our own investigation. The Potter League in M iddletown agreed to have one of it's cats implanted with a chip and time after time the scanners were able to read his owners information.

Meanwhile, as the industry battles over what type of microchip will prevail, pets remain caught in the middle, and risk never being found.

"I want other people to be aware I'm not against microchipping. I think microchipping is good, but they just need to be aware they have the correct chip in their animal."

Just this summer the coalition pleaded with the microchip industry to distribute a scanner that reads all chips. The industry has yet to respond. In the meantime, if your pet has a microchip, chances are it's fine. And if you're afraid that your pet has this specific ISO chip, the Banfield spokesperson says it won't hurt to have a second chip implanted.

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