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Salt Lake County Animal Services says microchips saving increasing number of pets

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SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake County Animal Services reports more animals are being returned to their homes and spending less time at the pound thanks to micro-chipping. Now they’re recommending all pet owners get their pets micro-chipped.

Video shows the moment a pet owner who micro-chipped her dog was reunited with her lost Yorkie.

“She was just ecstatic to see her and was so excited because, I mean, it’d been months since she had seen her dog and she assumed he’d been dead,” said Callista Pearson, spokesperson for Salt Lake County Animal Services.

Animal Services of Salt Lake County says the number of animals being returned to their owners is on the rise. That means fewer animals are staying at the pound.

“In 2011, on average, animals would spend about 20 days here in the shelter, now it’s down to about 10 days in the shelter,” Pearson said.

Pearson says it’s all thanks to microchips – which help shelter officials locate pet owners a lot faster when an animal is lost or dropped off.

“It’s only about the size of a grain of rice, and it goes in between their shoulder blades,” she said. “And that’s where it sits permanently, and all you have to do is update the information once your pet is micro-chipped.”

The chips contain a registration number. Pet owners can type in their contact information online. When a pet is found, the shelter scans the chip and locates the owner. Dogs, cats and rabbits can all be micro-chipped.

“We’re starting to get more people to microchip their cats, because cats, when they’re out just wandering in the neighborhood and they get caught, then people will assume that maybe their animal has just been hit or maybe someone else has taken their cat, when actually, they’re just here at the shelter,” Pearson said.

Animal services says the return rate for pets is up 15 percent since 2008. Pearson recommends all owners get their animals micro-chipped.

“People are able to get their animals back and to us, that is a huge relief because then we have less animals at the shelter that we have to care for.”

It costs $20 to get your pet micro-chipped at Salt Lake County Animal Services, and some shelters offer the service for free. For more information, you can visit your local pound or click here.