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Thread: Microchip/ Old Owner vs New Owner - Question

  1. #1
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    Microchip/ Old Owner vs New Owner - Question

    Here's a question for you:

    If you find a stray (or more correctly, if the stray finds you ) and it ends up having a microchip, how long do you give the old owner to contact you before you officially (legally?) take possession of the dog? (One number for the old owner was disconnected, one there was no answer but a message was left.) Also, how would you go about changing the registration of the chip?

    To add to the conundrum, this dog is SKINNY (like eats-a-bit-of-food-then-hides-the-rest-for-later skinny). I want to give the owner the benefit of the doubt --dogs get lost or stolen-- but I'm really not sure this person needs the dog back. At one point she was someone's baby --she's chipped and spayed and has decent manners-- but there haven't been any reports at the animal shelter/humane society of a lost dog matching this description. Soooo, I'm kind of at a loss about what to do.



    Clarification: Though the dog has been with me about a week, it was only today that I was able to get her scanned for a chip. I'm going to try the vets' offices on Monday to see if anyone has reported her missing but again, does she need to go back to that owner? I'm afraid she might go back to a neglectful situation.

  2. #2
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    I would find out everything I could, and then contact the current owners but cautiously. Ask if they looked, if they knew she was missing, whose care she was in, etc. Keep an open mind, but trust your heart, if that makes sense.
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  3. #3
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    This is more of an ethics question than anything else. I'd have to think if the dog is SKINNY and they haven't yet reported her missing, maybe they don't REALLY care. Maybe she was a "lawn ornament" and they haven't noticed her missing yet...the possibilities are endless. I'd agree with Karen on this one. I would definitely call around, but be very cautious about doing so.

    About changing the chip...we had this issue when we acquired Mikey from someone else. We wound up keeping his chip registered to his old owner, but he came from a decent situation before hand. To go about changing it, I believe you needed the papers on it, the website, etc. I could be wrong but we got all that from his owner. If you are unsure, maybe you could talk to the vet who scanned her.
    Mikey - [Pug/Beagle Mix] Spock and T'Stala - [Hermit Crabs] Rest in Peace, Bo. I love you - [African Cawed Frog] Bo II - [Guppy] Buzz - [VT Male Betta] Chippewa - [BT Male Betta]
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  4. #4
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    Thank you for taking her in!

    I'm a bit confused, if she eats a little then hides the rest, is she not that hungry? A skinny dog which has been starving is going to keep eating, until feeling full. I "think." Maybe not overeat, maybe not finish it, but certainly not going to start hiding food if still hungry. Does she go back to what she hid and eat that in an hour? I'm just wondering if she has a health issue.

    I think the vet can guide you how to handle the microchip issue.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
    A skinny dog which has been starving is going to keep eating, until feeling full. I "think." Maybe not overeat, maybe not finish it, but certainly not going to start hiding food if still hungry.
    This has not been true in my experience of skinny/starving dogs, granted that experience is limited to only two (including this one). When our boxer, Maggie, was found she was skin and bones (IF I remember right -and that's a big if, it's been 6 years ago- she had a body score of 1.5-2) and had scars that looked as though she had all four feet bound together. Those first few nights, she would eat part of her food and hide the rest in her blanket; sometimes she would eat it later, sometimes she would save it for a few days. That was years ago... now, her food is gone within minutes and she scarfs down anything not nailed to the floor.

    As for medical conditions, this dog does need to see a vet. She has a quarter sized lump on her rib cage near her spine; it doesn't cause her pain but it needs to be examined. (Plus, who knows if she's had shots, heartworm preventative, spay, etc.) However, I have other critters with medical conditions of their own and, not to sound cruel, but I won't pour money (I imagine this lump will need to be surgically removed), into a dog I can't legally keep.


    Bottom line: I want this dog, I want to make sure she is properly cared for, but I'm worried that the owner might be able to come back a month or two down the road and try to get their dog back.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by zippy-kat View Post

    As for medical conditions, this dog does need to see a vet. She has a quarter sized lump on her rib cage near her spine; it doesn't cause her pain but it needs to be examined. (Plus, who knows if she's had shots, heartworm preventative, spay, etc.) However, I have other critters with medical conditions of their own and, not to sound cruel, but I won't pour money (I imagine this lump will need to be surgically removed), into a dog I can't legally keep.


    Bottom line: I want this dog, I want to make sure she is properly cared for, but I'm worried that the owner might be able to come back a month or two down the road and try to get their dog back.
    Sure that makes sense, I have no issue with that. I don't have much experience with found, starved dogs, so I didn't know if they will eat or store. Learned something!

    A call to the animal control may give you some guidance as well. Depending on your situation, you may not want to phone from your own phone number.
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  7. #7
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    This situation had to do with a cat.

    A friend of mine posted on FB that a thin black cat in his area had wandered into his house around midnight one night and decided to stay.

    He found a tattoo in the cat's ear and took it to the HS to trace the tatt. They found the original owner right away - her cat had disappeared FIVE YEARS before and she thought he had died.

    She is now living in a no-cat place, so Midnight - the cat once known as Titan - went to live with my friend!

    I know it's less likely that dogs run away without being noticed, but just saying it's worth checking out the background. In the cat's case, the owner would have had first dibs - but she couldn't have a cat where she was, and perhaps also decided that since my friend had taken such trouble to find out about the cat, that he would have a good home.
    "To begin, begin." ~William Wordsworth

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom View Post
    A call to the animal control may give you some guidance as well. Depending on your situation, you may not want to phone from your own phone number.
    AC is where I took her to get her scanned. (Due to my work hours and the holiday, I was unable to get her to my vet during the week.) They were able to look up her microchip and get the owner's phone numbers. They were also able to tell me the dog's name... which she doesn't respond to at all, of course. lol

    As for adoption advice, it was slim to none. If I were to turn her over to them, they would keep her for a 3 day "reclaim" period then do an adoption evaluation on her, THEN it's first come first served. I really like this dog and don't want to chance NOT being the "first served." After the scan, they did release her to me (with the owner's contact info) but no real advice as to when she was technically mine.

    If none of the vets' recognize her as their patient, I'll see what mine says about a "legal adoption." Man, sometimes it's hard/confusing to do the right thing!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catty1 View Post
    This situation had to do with a cat.

    A friend of mine posted on FB that a thin black cat in his area had wandered into his house around midnight one night and decided to stay.

    He found a tattoo in the cat's ear and took it to the HS to trace the tatt. They found the original owner right away - her cat had disappeared FIVE YEARS before and she thought he had died.

    She is now living in a no-cat place, so Midnight - the cat once known as Titan - went to live with my friend!

    I know it's less likely that dogs run away without being noticed, but just saying it's worth checking out the background. In the cat's case, the owner would have had first dibs - but she couldn't have a cat where she was, and perhaps also decided that since my friend had taken such trouble to find out about the cat, that he would have a good home.
    That's pretty amazing! Yes, I'm trying to keep an open mind (and meanwhile not get too attached). I do know the dog was chipped in 09 and she is young, I'm placing her at three maybe four. I also know the owners moved; I don't know the exact house or street but I know the area -- it is a few miles southeast of me. I drove by there yesterday and there are no lost dog posters... of course if it's been awhile, they might've stopped trying. The shelter didn't have record of a dog matching this description either.

    I live in the country so I'm wondering if she weren't dropped off. As clingy as this dog is, I have a hard time believing she'd run away. Who knows, maybe something spooked her or someone stole her or... the possibilities are endless. I just find it odd that no one's responded to the voicemail I left. If it were my animal, I'd be all over it!

  10. #10
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    Hopefully the lump will be nothing serious - our beloved Gracie the Great Dane mix has a wen the size of a large grape on her side, but the vet assured is it was a hairless fatty lump. It was very obvious as she had that thin, sleek Great Dane coat, but it never bothered her.
    I've Been Frosted

  11. #11
    My brother found an emaciated dog a few years ago with a scab all the way around his neck from an embedded collar being ripped off, and massive burns/scarring all over his body. When we took him to the vet, he was found to be chipped, but we never called the number on the chip. We posted fliers around (Found small male dog, call to identify), and posted the same on Craigslist, and never heard anything. AFAIK, there isn't a way to re-register the chip without contacting the old owners, so we simply left it and we make sure he always has an ID tag on. I know that's not 100% effective, but the microchip company said that there was nothing we could do without proving the transfer of ownership.

    I couldn't imagine soemone mistreating this little guy!

  12. #12
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    Where are the pics? I feel like if you want it to be "legal" you would have to turn her over to the shelter then adopt her. At least the shelters around here say it is illegal to keep stray dog that you find, you must turn it into the shelter to give the owner a chance to claim the dog. If it's first come first serve I'm sure if you were there the morning the shelter opened after the holding period you wouldn't have a problem. If you don't want to do that then I'd post on the internet, flyers, etc. but don't post a pic or a real description make anyone who calls describe her for you or bring photos of her. After a few weeks I'd figure if they were really looking for their dog they would have contacted you by then, if you haven't heard anything just keep her. I don't know if there's a "legal" period where you can claim she's your dog? I feel like somebody who was trying to take her back would have to prove ownership though. Did you get the name of the owner on the microchip? Could you look them up on internet perhaps?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolf_Q View Post
    Where are the pics? I feel like if you want it to be "legal" you would have to turn her over to the shelter then adopt her. At least the shelters around here say it is illegal to keep stray dog that you find, you must turn it into the shelter to give the owner a chance to claim the dog. If it's first come first serve I'm sure if you were there the morning the shelter opened after the holding period you wouldn't have a problem. If you don't want to do that then I'd post on the internet, flyers, etc. but don't post a pic or a real description make anyone who calls describe her for you or bring photos of her. After a few weeks I'd figure if they were really looking for their dog they would have contacted you by then, if you haven't heard anything just keep her. I don't know if there's a "legal" period where you can claim she's your dog? I feel like somebody who was trying to take her back would have to prove ownership though. Did you get the name of the owner on the microchip? Could you look them up on internet perhaps?
    Yep, got the name of the owner and phone numbers. One has been disconnected and I left a message on the other (as did the animal shelter). That was yesterday... so far not a peep. It strikes me as odd that I haven't heard anything. I will call the local vets and see if they have the person as a client and if they have updated info and go from there.

    I don't think it's illegal here to keep a stray... or if it is, the animal shelter screwed up royally by giving her back to me after they scanned her. Not sure.

    Can you believe she's scared of the camera? She's a sporting dog and I wonder if holding the camera up, reminds her of a gun. She's really skittish so I don't know... best I could come up with. lol

  14. #14
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    ok, I've read all the comments. You live in the country and no doubt get strays. I live in the country and have a great dog Annie that was a stray. I made no effort whatsoever to find the owner. She looked so bad that I just kept her; that was six years ago.

    IMO you've done enough to try to find the owner by leaving a message. I personally would not do flyers or call vets. Now it's waiting time. Just treat her the way she deserves and hopefully noone will call.

  15. #15
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    You got to keep mind though that just cuz a dog is skinny doesnt mean its abused.
    some dogs are just like that. a dog my mom had for example was a skinny dog but yet was healthy an always had access to food when ever she wanted since she wouldnt over eat. Kribys also on the skinny side. can feel his ribs an back bone when ever you pet him but hes always been that way. ive even tired fattening him up with different kinds of treats an etc.

    if the dog eats like a horse an starts packing on the pounds though thats a different matter. id raise an eye brow at that too an keep the dog if i could.

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