ORLANDO — It took Paco a very long time to get home.
In total, Paco was away from his house for a year. But this week, the six-year-old black cat was reunited with his owner, Sarah Tyszko — thanks to a pet microchip.
Paco had been scanned for a microchip, which is what happens to every animal brought to Orange County Animal Services, the pet shelter at 2769 Conroy Road in Orlando.
When the shelter’s employees conducted the scan, a microchip number appeared. Paco had been brought to Orange County Animal Services on Tuesday morning by people who assumed he was a stray.
After researching the microchip, Animal Services staff was able to call the Tyszko and inform her that her cat was at the shelter. Within a few hours, Tyszko had arrived, ready to pick up Paco and take him home.
“I’m so excited to bring him home,” Tyszko said. “I was sure he was still out there roaming the streets — I just didn’t know where.”
The shelter is now touting this case as a great example of what happens when pet owners microchip their cats and dogs. A microchip is a small device inserted near a pet’s shoulder blades. The device displays a number when it gets scanned.
Once registered, this number correlates with the pet owner’s information, which can be obtained through a microchip registration company.
Dil Luther, the division manager of Orange County Animal Services, noted that a registered microchip with current owner information is the most successful way to reunite area residents with a lost pet.
“About 5 percent of the cats who enter our shelter as a stray are reunited with their owner,” Luther said. “We’re thrilled to see this happy ending for Paco and Sarah.”
Any Central Florida pet owner who would like to have their pets micro chipped can do so for $15 per pet at Animal Services’ clinic, which is open Monday through Friday between the hours of 1-5:30 p.m.
The shelter is currently hosting a “Microchip Mania” promotion, which waives dog adoption fees for those who register their new canine’s microchip onsite for $9.95.
The Orange County Animal Services staff are currently impounding 15 small dogs into the shelter, which were relinquished to them after their owner got evicted.
The group of dogs consists of eight females and seven males, the shelter staff noted, while adding in a news release that “Fourteen of the dogs appear to be terrier mixes and weigh between ten to 15 pounds. One dog in the group is larger, weighing approximately 45 pounds. Most of the dogs appear to be friendly, although some are fearful.”
Animal Services is now accepting adoption applications for these dogs, and in honor of National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, is waiving the standard $55 dog adoption fee for those who opt to register their new pet’s microchip onsite.
Each dog adoption includes sterilization, initial vaccinations, microchip identification, heartworm test and an Adoption Welcome Kit.
To learn more, call 407-836-3111.
Orange County Animal Services is Central Florida’s largest pet rescue and adoption center, and in 2014, the agency received nearly 20,000 animals.
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