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article imageFour-legged residents of Tampa prepare for hurricane season Special

By Greta McClain     Aug 28, 2012 in World
Tampa - The Florida Division of Emergency Management, American Red Cross and other disaster assistance agencies were not the only ones preparing for Isaac and hurricane season. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay also sprang into action, offering free microchips.
Sherry Silk, Executive Director of Humane Society of Tampa Bay (HSTB), told Bay News "Often in disaster situations, like hurricanes, pets go missing and end up in shelters. With a microchip, the shelter can easily locate owners and reunite pets with family."
Radiograph of a cat with an identifying microchip located above the spine.
Radiograph of a cat with an identifying microchip located above the spine.
In an announcement on The Humane Society of Tampa Bay's facebook page, they stated: We are busy preparing for the safety of our animals should Isaac pass through as predicted! We want to help you keep YOUR animals safe too and having them microchipped gives them the best chance of finding their way home should they become lost in the storm. The announcement went on to tell pet owners there was no limit on the number of pets per household that could receive the free microchip, and no appointment was required. The microchip event took place Saturday and Sunday at the Animal Health Center in Tampa.
The microchips, which are about the size of one grain of rice, are implanted just under the animal's skin, usually between the right and left shoulder blade. The microchip uses a radio frequency to transmit information about the animal. If an animal is found and brought into an animal shelter, a scanner much like those used in grocery stores is used to see if a chip can be detected. If one is detected, the scanner reads the information so the owner can be contacted. Many vet clinics are also equipped with microchip scanners.
RFID scanner
RFID scanner
In an interview with Digital Journal staff, Nash McCutchen, Marketing Coordinator for Humane Society of Tampa Bay, stated the idea for the free microchip even was presented to senior administrative staff (Director of Medical Operations, Director of Shelter Operations, Director of Development) by Executive Director Sherry Silk. This was the first time under the current administration's tenure that free microchips have been offered in preparation for a possible natural disaster. They hope to offer similar events in the future if funding allows.
During the two days the event was held, a total of 1288 pets received the free microchips, 504 pets on Saturday and 784 pets on Sunday. HSTB also accommodated all wellness appointments and surgeries during the two days.
Pet owners in Tampa wait to have their pet receive a free microchip from Humane Society of Tampa Bay
Pet owners in Tampa wait to have their pet receive a free microchip from Humane Society of Tampa Bay
Humane Society of Tampa Bay
Ms. Silk released a statement to Digital Journal saying: "With the pending hurricane, we wanted to offer pet owners a free microchip (which is a permanent identification that is embedded in their pet) in case they would get separated in the storm. We had no idea that we would end up with 1,288 pets! In the future, if their pet ends up at a shelter, they can now be safely returned to their owners. This simple act could actually save an animal's life. It was a pleasure for us to help area pets and their owners."
HSTB is not affiliated with Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). They are a separate 501C3 organization that receives no federal or state funding. All funding comes from grants and private donations.
More about Isaac, Tropical storm, Pets, Tampa bay, Humane society
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