Faulty chips mean pets could be lost
Vets are being advised to double-check microchips in animals amid concerns that hundreds of dogs could be carrying faulty chips.
Wellington vets are reporting a "steady stream" of animals being brought in with faulty chips, raising fears among owners that their pets could end up being put down if they went missing.
Dogs registered for the first time are required by law to be microchipped as part of dog control measures introduced in 2006 to help identify owners of dangerous dogs. It costs up to $80 to have a chip implanted.
Allan Probert, of Animalz, said he had seen about 30 dogs in the past two years with microchips that failed to scan, despite X-rays showing the chips - about the size of a grain of rice - were where they were supposed to be. That meant many owners could be living with a false sense of security that, if their dog ran away, they could be reunited, he said.
Instead, their pets could be unwittingly put down by dog control officers. "It lends itself open to the potential for tragedy."
Staff now checked the chip on every animal to ensure it was working.
Shane Pattinson's cavoodle Bonnie had to have a second chip injected after her first one was found to be faulty during a routine check.
He had believed the chip was working and would help him locate Bonnie if she ever ran away, because she was "a bit of a runner", he said.
There would have been "unhappy campers" in his house if a faulty chip meant the family lost their pet permanently.
"This little flippy guard dog of ours has become part of the family."
David Kettles, head vet at Central Hutt Veterinary Clinic, said the practice was noticing a "steady stream" of cats and dogs with faulty chips since the beginning of last year, and it was now routinely scanning animals.
It appeared the problem may have resulted from a faulty batch of microchips, as staff were noticing it in one brand.
Mr Probert said he had spoken to one of the main suppliers of chips, which had told him it had noticed some of them failing, and a survey found about three in every 1000 were faulty.
There are more than 150,000 microchipped dogs in New Zealand.
The Dominion Post