By BELINDA SCOTT
MICROCHIPPING is designed to identify the owner of a pet ? but it may not always reunite you with your animal.
The owner of Coffs Harbour's Rainbow Animal Rescue Centre, Rae Cooper, microchipped a dog handed in to her refuge, but says she cannot now recover the animal.
Ms Cooper said after microchipping, desexing and treating the dog, she had handed over the animal to a family who claimed they had previously lost the Maltese, merely asking them to pay her back for the costs she had incurred.
She said this never happened and the family refused to return the dog.
She has since discovered the dog had been in the care of the resident who had originally rescued it from the streets for more than a month before the family claimed to have lost their dog.
The incident has left her more than $600 out of pocket and with no option to recover the money or to spend more money taking civil court action.
Ms Cooper said in a second and different case, where a dog was killed on the road and the dead animal removed by Coffs Harbour City Council staff, the owners would not have ever known what had happened to the dog, which was microchipped, except that a neighbour had seen both the incidents.
Ms Cooper said after contacting all authorities who are involved with the Companion Animal Act, she believed the microchipping system had serious loopholes.
The NSW Opposition spokesman on Local Government, Andrew Fraser, said there were problems with microchipping, including the fact that a vet cannot access the ownership records of, for example, a dog which had been injured in an accident, unless the animal was microchipped at that particular veterinary practice.
The Companion Animal Act is currently being reviewed by the NSW Govern- ment.