It is not uncommon around the region (lamentably) to see roaming dogs and cats in the area. Most of them know how to find their way home. However, if they wander too far, are injured, are non-regular escapees or stolen, these pets often find themselves at the vet clinic, brought in by a good Samaritan or their ‘supposed owner’ to scan a microchip. When there is a microchip, our jobs are made much easier – pet and owner can be easily reunited. Or, so we think!
Microchipping is a process where a small rice-sized transponder is inserted under the skin. When scanned, it shows a numerical ID unique to your pet. When we microchip your pet, you are provided with a number or microchip certificate. What most people think is ‘that’s it’. The number is magically stored everywhere and anyone with a scanner will be able to trace your pet back to you. This is untrue.
The microchip number and the owner’s details associated with it would only be stored in the vet clinic’s system if no other actions are taken. To ensure that your pet can be traced back to you if it is lost in a different area, brought to the council or brought to a different vet clinic, the microchip number and your details will need to be logged onto either the National Dog Database (NDD) or the New Zealand Companion Animal Register (NZCAR).
For dogs, it is your responsibility to ensure that the microchip details are provided to your local council for the details to be stored into the NDD. These details can then be accessed by any authorised council members to trace. Vets and SPCA officers are not privy to this database, but we are allowed to request this information from council. This means we can call the council and trace a lost dog back to its owner, but only if they are on the NDD. The NZCAR is also a nationwide database. Vets and organisations prefer pets to be logged into NZCAR because the system allows vets or shelter organisations to directly search any microchip number stored in the database nationwide. This allows us to find owner details quickly without calling the local council. It is compulsory to register and log your dogs into the NDD, while the NZCAR is voluntary.
This article is a pitch from your local vet to please microchip and upload your pet’s information onto either or both databases. We see too many lost pets, cases of messy ownership situations and stolen pet cases that are easily rectified by microchipping. Because cats are not legally required to be registered or licensed, a microchip is the only way we can trace them. In their case, it is highly recommended to store their details on to the NZCAR, as we know that cats can travel long distances.
Lastly, if your pets are already microchipped and NZCAR/NDD registered, well done! But remember to regularly update any changed contact details with your vets, on the databases and any ownership transfer details.
This article does not serve to inform about council dog rules. All information regarding Auckland Council dog registration can be found here: www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/dogs-animals/register-your-dog