Lost pets in Georgetown now have another way of finding their way home. Thanks to a new partnership between Georgetown Animal Services and the Georgetown Fire Department, residents who find loose dogs and cats will be able to take them to any fire station to have them scanned for a microchip.
Georgetown Animal Services has delivered microchip scanners to fire stations across the City of Georgetown and provided instructions on using them.
If a found animal has a microchip, firefighters can collaborate with microchip companies, veterinarian offices, and others to obtain the owner’s contact information, with the goal of returning the pet home without taking up a spot at the local shelter.
“The shelter has a finite amount of space,” Animal Services Manager April Haughey said. “When we have high intake numbers and no space, it is extremely helpful to keep even one animal out of the shelter. By returning an animal home without ever passing through the shelter, we not only reunite families, but also create valuable space at the shelter for other animals who need to come in.”
Fire stations are strategically placed around town to have the fastest response time to any call for service and will help keep animals in their neighborhoods.
“The objective of this program is to create options to get pets back home faster,” Deputy Fire Marshall and Community Risk Officer Jonathan Gilliam said. “We have good people in Georgetown who truly care about animals. This will save time and get the animals back home.”
Each microchip company is different in how they go about contacting an owner, Haughey said.
“If the owner is okay with the finder bringing it home after being contacted, and the finder is willing, they can meet up and get the animal back home,” she said. “If an animal does not have a microchip, the finder can still bring it to the City’s shelter.”
The fire stations are not able to take possession of any pets. If owners cannot be reached or identified, fire personnel can give guidance as to the next steps.