Microchip Scanners Provide One More Tool for Good Samaritans Finding Strays

Riverside County Animal Services sent 20 microchip scanners to county fire stations in a pilot partnership between the two agencies. The department used grant money for the pilot program.

CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department will house the microchip scanners at select stations to assist those who find lost pets and want to check if the animal is chipped. Please note that firefighters will hand over the microchip scanner to assist the community member. Firefighters cannot assist with handling the stray pet.

The microchip-scanners-at-fire-stations concept started at various departments across the country in recent years. The feel-good idea helps give community members another option to check for chips rather than driving a farther distance to the nearest shelter or veterinary clinic.

“We’re getting so much great help from the public these days in getting lost pets back to the rightful owner,” Animal Services Director Julie Bank said. “To that end, these 20 scanners will act as another tool for the kind people trying to reunite stray pets quickly and avoiding an overnight stay at one of our shelters.”

If the lost pet has a microchip, the person will be given instructions on how to make contact with the owner.

Anyone who does find a stray pet and wants to visit one of the fire stations to check for a chip is asked to be cognizant of the firefighters’ work schedules. Pet finders should visit the station during normal business hours. There will be times, of course, the firefighters might be on a call and unable to assist.

“Certainly emergency calls for service take precedent for our firefighters, but we’re excited and thankful our friends at the Riverside County Fire Department agreed to this unique partnership,” Bank said.

Participating fire stations, so far, include: Station No. 3 (Nuview), No. 8 (Woodcrest), No. 11 (Lakeland Village), No. 19 (Highgrove), No. 22 (Cherry Valley), No. 23 (Pine Cove), No. 26 (Little Lake), No. 27 (Eastvale), No. 34 (Winchester), No. 35 (Roy Wilson, Thousand Palms), No. 53 (Garner Valley), No. 64 (Sycamore Creek, Corona), No. 72 (Valley Vista), No. 81 (North Bermuda Dunes), No. 82 (Lake Hills) and No. 83 (French Valley).

“Riverside County Fire Department is dedicated to assist in getting beloved pets reunited with their owners,” CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department Chief Bill Weiser said. “We are very happy to be a part of this community assistance program with our partners at Riverside County Department of Animal Services.”

Image Sources

  • Microchip scanner used to identify stray dog: Shutttterstock