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It’s a Big Scary World for Little Lost Pets

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Every day animal shelters across the U.S. hear the same story from distraught pet owners: “My pet lives indoors. I never thought he would run away and get lost!” The sad fact is that millions of lost pets arrive at U.S. shelters each year -- and only about 15 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats without an ID tag or microchip are reunited with their owners.

To increase awareness of the importance of pet identification, the American Humane Association is celebrating Every Day Is Tag Day™ on April 3. This annual event encourages all pet owners to tag and microchip their cats and dogs so that a lost animal has a better chance of returning home if the unthinkable happens.

Approximately 9 million companion animals are admitted to shelters across the country each year, but because of space and resource constraints, many shelters can hold lost animals for only a short time in the hope that the owners will claim their pets. “Most lost pets without identification are never reunited with their families,” says Dena Fitzgerald, American Humane’s program manager for publications and external communications. “At the very least, every cat and dog needs a collar and ID tag, but the best solution is to also microchip your pet for permanent identification.”

Here are some ways to give lost pets a better chance of returning home:

  • Remember that even indoor pets need tags and microchips. Many strays in shelters are indoor pets that escaped and became lost.
  • Make sure your pet wears a collar with a current ID tag, rabies tag and city license. Include a contact name, address, and day and evening phone numbers. Consider providing a phone number for an alternate contact, like a neighbor or family member.
  • Keep information on your pet’s license, tags and microchips current.
  • When moving or traveling, place a temporary tag on your pet with the phone number of someone who knows how to reach you.

For more information on Every Day Is Tag Day, visit

About American Humane Association

Since 1877, the historic American Humane Association has been at the forefront of every major advancement in protecting children, pets and farm animals from cruelty and abuse and neglect. Today we’re also leading the way in understanding human-animal interaction and its role in society. As the nation’s voice for the protection of children and animals, American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at today.

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