Pet trackers


POSTED: Saturday, October 03, 2009

Question: Some years ago one of our cats vanished into thin air. Never turned up, despite having a chip implanted, so she was either taken in by a stranger—or worse. In case the worst actually did happen and she didn't survive, it makes us wonder. The city has crews that pick up dead animals. When they do so, do they scan for microchips? Even if the animal is completely flattened, the chips should survive. Families whose pets have gone missing will at least be informed what happened.





        You should call the Hawaiian Humane Society immediately at 356-2250 to report an injured animal that you have found.

To report a dead animal, call the state at 831-6714 if found on a state roadway, or the city at 832-7840 if found on a city road.




Answer: Although most city crews are equipped with microchip readers provided by the Hawaiian Humane Society, records show no microchip number has been reported for more than two years.

“;I went back to July 2007, and on every single form, there have been no recorded microchip or license numbers,”; said Humane Society spokeswoman Kawehi Yim.

She said animal pickup crews are provided with forms asking what kind of animal was picked up, the location and ID numbers for microchips and/or licenses.

The responsibility for picking up dead animals on city streets is split between two agencies: the Department of Environmental Services for the Honolulu area (Halawa Stream to Hawaii Kai) and the Department of Facility Maintenance for rural areas.

We're told animal collectors for both departments are equipped with scanners, so will scan the animals for microchips as a matter of course, EXCEPT in certain rural areas.

However, if the animal is found on a state roadway, no scanning is done because “;we do not have the equipment to scan for electronic microchips in dead animals,”; said a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

After we informed the Environmental Services Department about the Humane Society's findings, it asked the organization to test its scanners. They were found to be working.

However, “;It is not unusual to not report any (microchip numbers) for a year in the downtown area,”; said Markus Owens, spokesman for Environmental Services.

The fact that some animals are in such bad conditions when found is probably a factor.

The Facility Maintenance yards in the Pearl City-Ewa, Kailua-Waimanalo, Kaneohe and Laie districts have microchip readers, and we're told these are regularly used on animals picked up from city roads or streams in those areas.

According to staff at those yards, if an animal has a microchip, it is reported to the Humane Society, but not all animals have microchips.

However, three rural districts overseen by Facility Maintenance—Wahiawa, Waianae and Waialua—do not have microchip readers for scanning any animal.

Yim said the Humane Society was surprised to learn that not all areas covered by animal pickup crews were equipped with the microchip scanners.

“;At this time we'd be more than happy to work with (officials) to provide scanners at a reasonable and affordable price, not just to the county departments, but also to the state department if they're interested,”; Yim said.

Facility Maintenance officials say they will look into possibly purchasing additional microchip scanners.

Meanwhile, Owens noted that dead animals must be buried at Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill. They cannot be taken to the HPOWER incinerator, per the facility's environmental permit issued by the state Department of Health, he said.

Landfill staff must be alerted to the animals coming to the landfill and must bury them upon arrival.