Tennessee Department of Health helps reunite lost pets with their owners

JACKSON, Tenn. — We’ve all seen lost dog flyers nailed to a tree or on a bulletin board posted by a desperate pet owner in search of their best friend, but what if there was an easier, more reliable way to find our missing four-legged friend?

“It really shortens the process, which can be critical when people find lost pets that many times are injured or people are frantically looking for them,” said Hugh Atkins, Director for the Tennessee Department of Health.

This service is a web-based tool created by the TDH that uses rabies vaccination tag numbers to link a pet to the veterinarian who vaccinated them, likely leading to information on their owner.

“Whenever she got spayed or neutered, she got the chip, and so it’s got a service where we can find it nationally, but that would be really cool if it were something within Tennessee,” said Katie Weathers.

Mary Stevens says she recently found a stray dog with a collar but no tags, and spent more than two days trying to find who it belonged to.

“There was a minute when we thought, what do we do next? We didn’t want to take the dog back and take it to the shelter, so we were actually looking at the fact that we would have two dogs,” Stevens said.

West Tennesseans say, this resource would not only make them feel better about finding their lost pet, but would make it more likely they would take in a stray, knowing they could reunite it with its owners more easily.

“If dogs in the area had it, I would be more likely to pick up a dog,” said Weathers, “and be able to find someone that’s looking for them.”

We spoke to dog walkers here in Jackson who said they couldn’t imagine losing their furry member of the family.

“They’re like your kids, so just like you want to know where your actual kids are, you want to know what happens with your pet kids,” said Jordon Thomas.

TDH reminds pet owners that Tennessee law requires rabies vaccination for both dogs and cats.

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