May is Free Microchip Month at Tails of Hope

May 9—HERMITAGE — Local pet owners are reminded to get their animals microchipped, and Tails of Hope and 24PetWatch are partnering to offer free microchips this month.

May, which is recognized as "Chip Your Pet Month" by the American Kennel Club, is an annual celebration that recognizes the importance of getting pets microchipped.

Microchips increase the chances of a lost or stolen animal being reunited with its owners, according to a press release.

At the nonprofit Tails of Hope spay and neuter clinic in Hermitage, microchips will be offered for free by appointment throughout May, courtesy of 24PetWatch, North America's largest lost pet database and microchip registry.

Tails of Hope Executive Director Soraya Hejazi said 24PetWatch provided 25 free microchips to start. Tails of Hope will cover the cost of any additional microchips given out this month.

"Microchips are the only permanent and reliable form of ID if a pet is lost or stolen," Hejazi said.

"It does not replace a tag or collar, but a tag or collar can be removed easily."

Hejazi said that any reputable animal organization, such as shelters or rescues, will scan every animal that enters into their care to look for microchips.

Animals are also scanned for chips any time they're spayed, neutered or adopted out.

"If an animal has that permanent ID, then they can be re-homed quickly, reducing the stress on the animal and reducing the burden on shelters," Hejazi said.

Aside from Chip Your Pet Month, Tails of Hope offers microchipping services year-round as part of their spaying, neutering or vaccine services, which are offered at low- to no-cost for qualified residents.

However, one common misconception among pet owners is that microchips are a GPS tracking device, Hejazi said.

Microchips merely contain an ID number that can be detected with a wand device.

That number can connect officials with an animal's owners, which is why Hejazi said it was important for pet owners to keep their contact information updated even after an animal has been microchipped.

In the case of 24PetWatch, updating that information only takes pet owners a few minutes, she said.

"If we pull up a microchip number but the account has an old phone number, address and email, then that won't help us connect that animal with its owners," Hejazi said.

According to the press release, during Chip Your Pet Month, free microchips will be offered by appointment at Tails of Hope:

— During regular spay and neuter surgery appointments for cats and dogs. The microchip is free.

— During regular vaccine or booster appointments for dogs. The microchip is free with a $10 tech fee for standalone service.

— During an appointment on a special Microchip Clinic for dogs on May 28. Microchip is free with $10 tech fee for standalone service.

To contact Tails of Hope to schedule a free microchip, call 724-346-4673.