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High-tech device unites dog with owner

Thanks to a microchip, Lankan woman's dog has been returned three years after disappearing:

Sri Lankan born Melanie Dharmagunaratne's Maltese dog climbed under the backyard fence and disappeared three years ago.

But thanks to a microchip implanted in Miss Pattiya's back, she's back where she belongs.

"She's the little prodigal daughter that has come home," said Dharmagunaratne.

The dog, Miss Pattiya, was found this month roaming the streets of Lancaster, more than 30 miles from her home in Arlington. An animal control officer took the dog to the Lancaster Animal Shelter, where she was scanned to see whether she had a microchip.

Information stored in the microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, showed that Dharmagunaratne was the owner, said Larry King, with the Lancaster Animal Shelter.

Soon, the little dog - a bit worn and tattered - was back home.

Dharmagunaratne said she was a little skeptical of the technology when she had the microchip put in 12 years ago, but now "my faith is completely restored in modern technology."

Of the estimated 60 million dogs and 70 million cats in the United States, between three per cent and five per cent have microchips, according to a 2007 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

HomeAgain, one of the leading manufactures of the microchip, has sold more than six million microchips since 1995 and reunited more than 500,000 pets, spokeswoman Julie Lux said. Local shelter operators agree that the microchip has proven to be helpful.

"Just one dog or cat found would be successful," said Stephen Anthony, a vet technician for Arlington Animal Services. "But the return rate is about 10 per cent." The Arlington animal shelter has implanted microchips in more than 2,457 dogs and cats this year.

Fort Worth Star Telegram, TX

 

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