DO provide your companion animals with collars, ID tags, and licenses. Speak with your veterinarian about backup forms of identifications, including tattooing and microchipping.
DO keep recent photos and written descriptions of your companion animals on hand at all times.
DO keep dogs and cats indoors, especially when you’re not home.
DO know where your animals are at all times. Treat your companion animals as you would a small child.
DO educate family, friends, and neighbors about pet theft
A good dog collar with an ID tag is the first line of defense against pet theft; however, a collar can break or be pulled off. In addition to a collar, dogs should have permanent identification. Microchipping and/or tattooing your pet are excellent ways to ensure their safety.
Additionally, if your pet ends up at a research or medical facility, the researchers are required by law to look for any tattoos, and, if one is found, they must trace the pet back to the owner.
A microchip is a permanent radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip implanted under the animal’s skin and read by a chip scanner or wand. Implantation is done with an injector that places the chip under the loose skin over the animal’s shoulder.
The advantages are obvious -- the process is quick and no more painful than a vaccination, the number is unique and the owners name and address are available on regional or national data bases so a dog can be returned quickly and safely.
The chip identification number is stored in a tiny transponder that can be read through the animal's skin by a scanner emitting low-frequency radio waves. The frequency is picked up by a tiny antenna in the transponder, and the number is retrieved, decoded and displayed in the scanner readout window.
There are two major companies that produce and register microchips: HomeAgain and AVID. For more information on microchipping, visit www.HomeAgainID.com and www.AvidMicrochip.com.
Tattooing your cat and dog is another great and permanent way to protect them if they ever get lost. Tattooing dogs and cats has been done routinely since the sixties and is a relatively painless procedure.
Vibrator tattoos used with dogs are similar to those used to tattoo humans. Tattoo inks or pastes contain insoluble pigments that will not react with blood or tissues. Black ink is commonly used on light-skinned animals. Green ink is visible on both light and dark skin.
The ear of the animal is not a satisfactory place for a tattoo as the ear can be cut off to remove the tattoo. A better place to tattoo the animal is on the flank.
A tattoo must be registered with a tattoo registry. Each registry has its own coding system and its own fee schedule. Your veterinarian, local breed clubs, humane societies and animal shelters can give you information about these registries.
For more information on tattooing your pet and to view video of the actual procedure, visit www.tattoo-a-pet.com.
Spaying or neutering your animal might actually help keep her out of a research lab. Animals that aren’t spayed or neutered often stray from home when looking to mate. Many strays end up in pounds or shelters, which, depending on the state laws, might in turn sell the animal to a research lab through a practice called “pound seizure.”
The United States Department of Agriculture licenses animal dealers; anyone selling animals to laboratories (or selling more than 24 dogs or cats per year at the wholesale level) must be licensed. Class "A" dealers maintain their own breeding colonies while Class "B" dealers obtain animals from "random sources." For a $10 fee, anyone can apply for a USDA Class "B" dealer license. The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspectors are responsible for making certain that the dealer's records are current and complete, and for ensuring the health and safety of the animals. Unfortunately, the USDA has not made the latter a priority, for there is a shortage of inspectors and enforcement of existing regulations is weak. Consequently, many of the people involved in the sale of stolen animals are licensed by the federal government.
Where do "Random Source" Animals Come From?
Many are stolen from backyards, others are obtained through "free to good home" ads. "B" dealers prey on these unsuspecting people who can no longer care for their companions. "Bunchers" acquire animals for free by making fraudulent promises of a good home and tender care, then sell the animals, sometimes the same day, to Class "B" dealers. Most will be sold to research facilities, many of which are funded by tax dollars. Researchers prefer to experiment on pets and other animals that have lived with people because they tend to be docile, accustomed to people and easy to handle.
> Live dogs in cages with dead dogs
> Dogs suffering from mange, parovirus, distemper and rectal bleeding
> Inadequate veterinary care to the point of negligence
> Moldy food and frozen water
> Animals beaten and strangled
> Dogs shot
> Open burial pits containing several dog carcasses in various states of decay
> Large dogs in cages with small dogs and female dogs in cages with male dogs, both violations of the Animal Welfare Act
In 2002, Last Chance for Animals sent an undercover investigator into Martin Creek Kennels, a facility run by Class "B" dealer C.C. Baird. As a result of LCA’s undercover investigation, in March 2004, the USDA/APHIS filed a 108-page complaint against Baird, consisting of hundreds of violations of the Animal Welfare Act. In 2006, he was subsequently charged with felony mail fraud and was put out of business -- PERMANENTLY. You can read more about the C.C. Baird case here.
Dealing Dogs is now available to rent through many major rental houses, including Netflix and Blockbuster, and is available for purchase through Last Chance for Animals here.
What is "Pound Seizure?"
Pound seizure, in which animals who arrive at the pound are turned over to laboratories for experimentation on demand if they are not reclaimed by their guardian or adopted out, is still in effect in some animal shelters. Some pounds therefore must sell (or choose to sell) animals to Class "B" dealers or research facilities. Read more about pound seizure here.