Family’s lost dog given away to woman after microchip mix-up

Angel (Courtesy/Sloan Family)
Angel (Courtesy/Sloan Family)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Janell Sloan is angry and frustrated. Her mother’s silky terrier “Angel” ran away from home in early May.

“I have been trying every day to get her back,” Sloan said.

There was a glimmer of hope in early July when Sloan found out her dog’s microchip was scanned only days after Angel went missing. A woman found Angel roaming around and took her to Hill Country Animal Hospital in hopes of reuniting the dog with her family.

“We scanned it [and] it had a HomeAgain microchip. We… got the number that was registered, called that number and we were told, ‘We know nothing about what you’re talking about. That’s not our dog,'” said Hill Country Animal Hospital Dr. Jim Holcomb.

Dr. Holcomb says he and his staff continued to search for the dog’s owners, but couldn’t find them. After several failed attempts, they agreed to let the woman who brought Angel in take her home for good.

“Nobody took this lady’s information,” Sloan said, upset the animal hospital did not record any contact information from the woman who took Angel home.

“Once we found out from the microchip that that they didn’t know anything about it, I guess we didn’t think that was necessary,” said Dr. Holcomb, who says he feels bad about everything.

Sloan’s frustration grew even more when she called the microchip company and realized the contact information registered to the microchip was outdated.

“I feel like there was a lot of fails in this,” Sloan said. “Me, first, for losing Angel, [and] for the information, the phone number, not being correct.”

While accepting some of the blame, Sloan still feels the hospital should have taken the woman’s contact information down.

Now that some time has passed, Sloan and Dr. Holcomb see this story as a teachable moment. Dr. Holcomb and Sloan hope people see this story and realize the importance of registering their animal’s microchip, and making sure contact information is current and correct.

“Without that accurate information, we’re not going to be able to get the dog home,” said Dr. Kohl Kemnitz of Hill Country Animal Hospital.

KXAN reached out to the Austin Humane Society to learn more about microchipping pets.

AHS scans every animal that enters the shelter, and say they often find chips with information that’s no longer valid, rendering them useless, just like what Hill Country Animal Hospital experienced.

They also told us they’re currently offering free microchip updating for any animal who already has a chip. You can do that from their website.

It usually takes about a week or two to get confirmation that the chip has been updated. AHS also says it’s rare for a microchip to be missed by a scanner. No matter the microchip manufacturer, scanners can recognize them.

You can learn more about microchips on the AHS website.

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