Statement as issued Tuesday by Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control:
City of Fort Wayne – Animal Care & Control has received a generous grant of $12,700 from a national animal welfare organization, the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to initiate a nationwide program for local dogs and cats called ID ME.
ID ME is a partnership program that offers pet owners free ID ME pet tags for their dogs and cats. ID tags will be personalized with the owners’ contact information to make it possible for the general public who find tagged strays to return the animals to their owners without involving the shelter. Three local organizations will partner to make the free tags available; Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control, HOPE for Animals and the Allen County SPCA.
“The generosity of the ASPCA located in New York allows our collective agencies to decrease shelter intake and overall euthanasia through direct safe return of pets to their owners via fellow citizens.”
The national program stipulates that when Fort Wayne pets receive an ID ME tag, they must be present for the partner organization to attach the tag directly to the collar of the dog or cat. The mandate follows research that shows when a collar and ID tag is placed directly onto a dog or cat, most pet parents will leave them on.
In the ASPCA’s baseline survey, 80% of pet owners said that a pet ID tag was “extremely important” or “very important.” Yet only 33% of surveyed pet owners reported that their current pet wears an ID tag all the time.
In the follow-up survey (after providing personalized ID tags), 73% reported that their pet continues to wear the ID tag. That is, once the tag was on, most owners were keeping it on their pet.
In 2011, Animal Care & Control accepted 3,421 stray dogs and 4,475 stray cats into their building. A combined total of 2,056 were claimed by their owners. Animal Care & Control officials hope that free ID ME tags will provide additional identification opportunity. ID ME does not replace the city pet registration tag required by city ordinance for all dogs and cats within Fort Wayne and available at local veterinary hospitals and Animal Care & Control.
ID Me tags are available Tuesday-Friday from 11:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. from Animal Care & Control, and at various events sponsored by the three partner organizations. Pets must be present to participate.