We’ve all heard the stats: One in three pets will get lost in his or her lifetime. Only 17% of dogs and 2% of cats make it back home. By some estimates, almost four million pets are euthanized every year because pets aren’t properly identified and their owners can’t be found.

If you’ve hung out on Dolittler over the years, you might already know that strong opinions prevail on the subject of microchips for pets. Here’s a rundown:

  • RFID technology microchips are a very good thing for pets. 
  • Still, they should not be used in lieu of tags, only as a safety net in case of tag loss.
  • Owners can have a microchip safely implanted by any vet or shelter.
  • But it won’t work if an owner does not register the microchip with personal, identifying information (which too many fail to do).
  • It also won’t work if shelters, veterinarians and individuals who find lost pets don’t check for a microchip with a “scanner” (which too many still fail to do).
  • Microchip companies in the US have set up a patchwork of competing technologies that are often incompatible with one another. 
  • Some microchip companies are more guilty than others of using exclusive, competitive tactics at the expense of our pets’ ability to be identified. 

Here are some of the more troublesome, system-wide problems facing the microchip industry for your consideration:

Problem #1

Some companes have “encrypted” their microchips so they can only be read by their own, proprietary scanners.

Solution #1

No company should technologically exclude any microchipped pet from being identified.

Problem #2

Some companies don’t widely distribute “universal” scanners that will identify all possible kinds of microchips.

Solution #2

All scanners should be universally able to read all kinds of microchips so that pets don’t fall through the cracks in the patchwork of technologies out there. 

Problem #3

Companies have individual, proprietary databases that manage all the microchips in its stable. It can be difficult for those who find microchipped pets to identify the correct database carrying the pet’s information.  Without this information, many pets will not be reunited with their owners.

Solution #3

The companies should submit to having their databases consolidated into a central registry to facilitate this process. 

***

This last solution was one of the conclusions of my most recent post on the microchip wars. After all, we decided, it would be incredibly depressing to have microchipped your pet, have him identified, and then lose him to a bureaucratic morass created by the microchip companies’ jealous guarding of their precious databases. But how to get them to comply?

In case you couldn’t tell (for all my long-winded, getting-you-up-to-speediness), that’s what this post is about. 

Seems a company, ChloeStandard, has set itself up as arbiter of pet micropchip database do-gooding. Based on the story of Chloe the Pug, who found herself lost in California’s Bay Area with no clear way to get checked for a chip, the company aims to be the central database of our dreams. 

No more wading through the swampy outlands of microchip company hell, it promises us. Here we have one company that will make sure the one number our scanners display on their screens will route our calls to the correct microchip company...every time. 

This service also plans to make it super-easy for anyone to check and see whether their pet is properly registered and accessible to the “centralized database.” Just enter the number. You’ll know. And it’ll still protect your privacy. Or so it adamantly insists.

But let’s be clear. This is not a centralized database. This is one private-sector company that’s doing the work the public sector could not do or did not demand. It’s managing to tap each company’s individual database so it can share the information with you...for FREE...for your pet’s safety...for the finder’s peace of mind and convenience, too. 

But what’s it all about? What’s the end game? Apart from the obvious social responsibility thing, that is. Apart from answering our prayers and all that. 

You’ll have to forgive me for looking a gift horse in the mouth, but I just have a thing about knowing how a company like this plans to make money. It’s a fair question, I think, given that so much has gone on behind this industry’s screen in its short lifetime. Can you blame me for wanting to peek behind the curtain, lest the almighty Oz lurk there? 

So what say you all? Is it the advertising income their site will command? Is it a fee from each microchip manufacturer for each number tapped? Is FREE an introductory rate? Is it a foray into a brick-and-mortar, microchip industry product of its own? Is it a microchip industry setup to thwart unwanted regulation?

Forgive me for asking but...inquiring minds want to know. Maybe a company spokesperson will answer...