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New microchip scanner will help reunite Kent County pets and owners

The Kent County Animal Shelter is launching a first-of-its-kind idea to help reunite people with lost pets by putting microchip technology in the hands of the public

“We’re seeing a huge increase in stray dogs entering the shelter and the rate they’re being picked up by their owners is decreasing.”

Director Angela Holllinshead hopes to get pets back home before they ever get to the shelter.

“We’re the county shelter but we’re located in the heart of Grand Rapids and that creates a lot of barriers for people.”

Lots of pets are microchipped but scanners are only available during vet or shelter business hours.

So, the shelter team designed a stand-alone 24-hour microchip scanning station.

People finding lost animals can scan for a microchip themselves, contact the chip company and get connected with the pet’s owner directly.

“So by leaving them in that area where they were found and reuniting them before they end up coming all the way to the shelter in Grand Rapids, we are going to be able to reunite a lot of families.”

The first scanner is at the sheriff’s north substation in Cedar Springs, and if it works well, more will likely be placed around the county.

Shelter staff has also supplied microchip scanners to every police agency in Kent County, and offers a new smart dog tag license for pet owners.

“They have the option to activate a free QR code on the back that brings up a pet’s profile and displays ownership information available 24 hours a day.”

Since 2019, there’s been a nearly 200% increase in dogs entering the shelter and Hollinshead hopes their creative use of technology will help reduce that number.

“We don’t want your pet at the animal shelter. We want your pet with you in your home where it belongs.”

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