No Kill Pima County started the Lost Pets Initiative in 2017 to focus on lost pet prevention and increasing the return of lost pets to their owners when they do get lost.
The majority of animals at Pima Animal Care Center (PACC), are strays or more accurately in most cases, lost pets. As the only open admission shelter in the county, PACC is often crowded and it is a stressful environment for dogs and cats. Even though PACC saves almost 90% of all animals, it is and should always be a last resort, for those with no options, and no home. Any shelter poses some risk factors which ideally we can often avoid.
In fiscal year ending June 30 2018, 15,465 live dogs and cats went to PACC and 9,217 were strays (60%). The challenge is helping them go home, only 21% of those dogs and 2% of those cats were ever returned to owners.
License/ID tags and microchips are of course the best way for lost pets and owners to be reunited quickly. To that end, we began a microchip program, starting with a collaborative marathon with PACC and Humane Society of Southern Arizona in preparation for the July 4th fireworks in 2017. And since September 2017 we have provided a free or $10 microchip event every month somewhere in the county.
In calendar year 2018 we provided 610 micro chips at community events and 371
of those were free. We also provided free collars at chip events and lost pet support/posters to those looking for their lost pets at PACC after the 4th of July and lost pet prevention education at community events throughout the year.
In 2018 we provided 240 microchips to 3 clinics which offer them for free to people bringing their pet cats in under PETFIX the low cost spay neuter program. Those chips have been made available at Santa Cruz clinic, AZ Spay Neuter Clinic and Guadalupe clinic. We are grateful to the Bonnie Kay Foundation held at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona for making this service possible.
As more and more people learn the value of micro-chipping we also hope to increase the availability and accessibility of micro-chip detection (scanning). Currently almost all vet offices and all shelters will scan a found dog/cat for free so the finder can get the pet right back to its owner. NKPC is working on a plan, to be announced soon, that will increase the availability of scanning locations in the evenings and weekends around the community and increase the awareness of microchips and the need to scan. We also hope to have new resources available to the public to find lost pets in the near future.
NKPC thanks the nonprofit Foundanimals.org for providing accessible and affordable resources including microchips, scanners and most of all a free registry. Consider registering YOUR chip with them.
PACC is also enhancing services to increase their ‘return to owner rate’. They are working to have more pets returned in the field when found by their officers, rather than brought to the shelter. They have provided some free microchip events and they recently posted a real time map on their website showing where found pets were picked up or were reported as found.
It has been VERY challenging to impact the return to owner rate at PACC. However, there are more people interested in helping and matching lost and found reports, many (too many) facebook pages to list a lost or found pet as well as more activity on Craigs List and nextdoor.com. We may not be able to document an increase in animals making it home directly from a finder, but next month we will report on PACC data and hope to be able to verify some some improvement in their return to owner rate.
If you’d like to help in any of the efforts taking place, let us know!
IF YOU NEED HELP
If you found a pet PLEASE CHECK FOR A MICROCHIP and then please report it, at least by phone, to both shelters.
You can only BRING a stray to the shelter that serves your location:
Marana and Sahuarita: Humane Society of Southern Az 635 W. Roger Rd. 520-327-6088
In Marana you may also call Marana Animal Services for assistance: (520) 382-8020
In Sahuarita you may also call Animal Control at 520-445-PUPS.
For all other parts of the county your service is provided by: Pima Animal Care Center 4000 N. Silverbell 520-724-7222