2012-05-03 / Police Reports

Pa. Township Buys Scanner To ID Lost Pets

EASTON, Pa. (AP) – One eastern Pennsylvania township hoping to reduce the cost of housing lost pets has decided to buy a hand-held scanner that can read microchips increasingly implanted in the animals.

Palmer Township Supervisor K. Michael Mitchell says say it cost the Northampton County township about $4,000 last year to feed and shelter lost pets.

“It’s becoming a problem with dogs, especially, that are found in the city by the police department and brought to the shelter, which is full and overflowing and becoming more and more of a problem,” Palmer said during a supervisors' meeting last week, according to The (Easton) Express-Times.

Police Chief Larry Palmer says it costs $100 to bring a dog to The Center for Animal Health and Welfare in Williams Township and about $300 for pit bulls.

Supervisors voted 4-0 last week, with member Ann- Marie Panella not present, to spend up to $500 on a handheld scanner after the chief proposed the idea.

Palmer said that when he was police chief in Easton, the city was paying about $43,000 annually to pay ani- mal shelter fees and its animal control officer. Before he retired, the city bought a microchip reader, and three dogs with microchips were returned to their owners, he said.

Such microchips won’t be mandatory, but Palmer said pet owners will be encouraged to get them, and the township will promote the use of chips through its website and newsletter.

Candace Keller, business manager at Wright Veterinary Medical Center in Bethlehem Township, said more than 50 pet owners have had the $62.50 microchips embedded since January, Kneller said. Dogs, cats and even birds can have the chips embedded, she said.

“Pets are a part of the family,” Kneller said. “Anytime a pet goes into a veterinary hospital, we scan them. We have had a lot of nice success stories where we could bring them back to their owners.”

With more people already getting microchips implanted in their pets, the scanner will benefit the township and pet owners, Supervisor Chairman David Colver said.

“It solves a lot of problems and goes a long way with goodwill from the township,” Colver said.

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