BOONE COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - A lost dog recently ended up in the Boone County Animal Shelter -- nothing out of the ordinary. But the pup’s owner was stunned to learn that after scanning the dog’s chip, the shelter had released her pet to someone else.
The dog was released to a couple that was, apparently, registered on the chip.
The woman tried to remain calm. She’d had the dog, named Cash, for more than a year and had adopted it from the Pendleton County Animal Shelter. She was crushed to hear that Cash had been returned to its original owner.
Cash, a Mountain Cur mix, was now at the center of a bit of a microchip mystery. Who was his real owner?
Cash disappeared from the woman’s property early Tuesday morning and got picked up by Boone County Animal Control as a stray later that afternoon.
“They told me his chip had been scanned and they called the owners, whose information came up on the microchip,” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous. “It was not me.”
The woman and her family had adopted the dog, formerly known as Roscoe, from the Pendleton County Animal Shelter and re-named him Cash.
"We’re big Johnny Cash fans,” the family said.
At the time of his adoption, the family says they were told the chip scanning equipment wasn’t working, so the couple assumed he was a stray. Still, they jumped through all the hoops and properly adopted him.
"At the time, our scanner was not working, so we weren’t able to scan to see if the dog had a microchip,” said John Bloomfield, the Director at the Pendleton County Animal Shelter.
Months later, at their own veterinarian’s office, the doctor did a routine check on the dog.
"When he scanned over the back of him, he did beep,” the woman said.
But when she looked up the chip number online it didn’t reveal any prior owner information.
"It seemed to recognize the chip number, but no information about a previous owner or anything,” she said, and didn’t give it another thought.
But they also didn’t update it right then and there with their own personal information. So, when the chip got scanned in Boone County, it actually showed who the prior owner was, and by Kentucky law, whoever’s registered on the chip is the owner. The prior owners eventually came and got the dog.
“They seemed to be pretty happy according to the people at the pound to have him back, I wasn’t very hopeful that we would ever see him again,” said the woman.
“Chips can migrate,” said shelter director Colleen Bray. “We typically see it in older animals that were micro chipped several years ago. We found them up by ears, down more towards an elbow, as well as further down the back.”
Bray said they check for a variety of things once an animal is brought into their care.
"We also go by veterinary records, or rabies vaccines, whatever's registered there and microchip information,” said Bray.
She understands what the family went through. Losing a fur baby is like losing a child for many families, who are just as attached to their animals as they are to their children.
“And we are very sensitive to that fact," said Bray. “We all have animals and they are all just as much part of our family as our children or our spouses.”
But in Cash’s case, the chip was never updated until now.
In Boone County, the shelter says it can also help walk you through updating your chip or you can check with your vet. Either way, get the information current, so you never hear those same words.