Dogs adopted from the Lucas County Dog Warden's Office will soon be leaving the shelter with collars and personalized identification tags thanks to a grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The dog warden's office was one of 25 agencies nationwide that received $6,000 grants from a $150,000 grant the ASPCA gave to the National Animal Control Association.
The grant will pay for an engraving machine, ID tags, and collars. It will allow the dog warden to participate in the ASPCA's ID ME multiphase research project, which is researching the use of identification tags on dogs and cats to facilitate the public's willingness and ability to return lost animals to their owners.
"The more forms of ID a dog has on it, the more likely it is to be returned to its owner if it gets lost," said Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle. "This way, instead of us sending adopters home with a bag with their microchip tag and license tag, with the hope they will buy a collar and also get an ID tag, they can wear it out the door. They will be all dressed up and ready to go."
All adopted dogs from the Lucas County Dog Warden leave with a microchip, but there's currently a chance that adopters may not put the tag on a collar, in which case the finder of a lost dog would not know the dog is registered. Even if a dog is wearing the microchip, having the owner's contact information on an additional tag on the dog saves the finder the trouble of contacting the microchip company and reduces the time it takes to reunite lost dogs with owners, Ms. Lyle said.
The new service will be offered as soon as the pound receives the grant money and buys the supplies, Ms. Lyle said.
Knox County Animal Control in Ohio, which also received $6,000, is the only other grant recipient in Ohio or Michigan.
Initial results of the first phase of the ID ME project indicate that while 80 percent of surveyed pet owners said a pet identification tag was "extremely important" or "very important," only 33 percent said their pet wears a tag all the time.
In the follow-up survey, 73 percent of personalized tag recipients reported their pet wears the identification.
Of the newly adopted pets, 89 percent had the identification tag on at the six week follow-up call.
ID tags personalized with owners' contact information enable the general public who find tagged strays to return the animals to their owners without involving a shelter or animal-control agency. Phase two results may show whether widespread ID tagging can significantly reduce stray intake at pounds and shelters, according to the ASPCA.
Humane Ohio also recently received a $40,000 grant from the ASPCA to purchase a transport van. The nonprofit group offers low-cost spaying and neutering of cats, kittens, dogs, and puppies at 3131 Tremainsville Rd., Toledo.
"We plan to purchase the van, which will be able to hold 100 animals, by the end of July," said Jill Borkowski, Humane Ohio's marketing manager. "This will allow us to expand our services into outlying counties."