Glynn County Animal Control is offering free microchips to any county residents who bring their pets to the Glynn Place Mall on Saturday.
From noon to 2 p.m., animal control will set up shop on the Ga. 25 Spur side of the mall said Animal Control Manager Tiffani Hill.
“Because we’re in an area that looks like we may have more hurricane evacuation, we want to encourage owners to microchip their pets as part of their disaster preparation planning,” Hill said. “We want to increase the number of animals who come into our shelter who are reunited with their families.”
The only requirement is that the pet owner lives in Glynn County. They must have a government-issued photo ID to prove it, but a utility bill will work for address verification if the ID lists an old address, Hill said.
Given the limited quantity of microchips, only four pets per household are eligible. Cats must be in a carrier and dogs have to be on a leash, she added.
With the chip comes a permanent spot on the PetLink nationwide pet registry.
“We will have them fill out a form on site, which will allow us to put their contact information on a national registry,” Hill said. “Their microchip will be attached to their contact information.”
Getting identification microchips implanted in pets helps reduce the burden on local shelters, Hill said. She referenced a study conducted by Ohio State University, along with other institutions, of the likelihood of stray pets being reunited with their owners.
The study involved stray pets in 53 animal shelters across the county she said. It found around 2 percent of stray cats and 22 percent of stray dogs without microchips are returned to their owners. About 39 percent of cats and 53 percent of dogs with microchips were reunited, according to the study.
The primary reason the study cited for pets not being returned to their owners was a lack of up-to-date owner information.
Not perfect, Hill said, but owners have much better odds of getting a lost pet back with the chip than without.
An $11,900 PetSmart Keeping Pets and Families Together grant paid for the clinic, Hill said.
She said PetSmart awarded the grant based on animal control’s efforts to work together with local animal rescue and advocacy groups Wayne and Glynn Surroundings Rescue and No Kill Glynn County to organize free microchipping clinics. Another free microchip clinic is scheduled for Dec. 8 in Mary Ross Waterfront Park from 1-3 p.m. Animal control will hold more clinics next year as well.
“We want to do them in multiple areas so no one has to drive across the county,” Hill said.
In 2019, clinics are planned for Howard Coffin Park in February, the North Glynn Recreational Complex in April, Pet Supplies Plus in Brunswick in June, Tractor Supply Co. on U.S. Highway 341 in August and somewhere at Gascoigne Bluff on St. Simons Island in October.
If any chips are left over, Hill said the three organizations will split them. Animal control officers will carry them on their trucks so they can distribute them on the spot, she said.
For more information on microchips or the clinic at the mall on Saturday, call Glynn County Animal Control at 912-554-7500.
“They just need to look for the big blue mobile adoption van,” Hill said. “... I think we’re going to have a good response from the number of phone calls and emails and social media messages we’ve been getting, so we’re really excited.”