Four cities receive help reuniting lost pets with owners

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Lost dogs and cats will have an easier time making it back home thanks to a non-profit organization. Jackson County Spay and Neuter donated microchip scanners to all of the cities in the county. Animal Control officers said the scanners make their jobs easier.

As Anthony Malis cruises the streets of Gautier looking for lost animals, he sometimes comes across a dog or cat that doesn't have a collar.

"Uncollared dogs, cats. They usually wind up at the shelter and not back at their homes," said Malis. "And that's the sad thing."

Now Malis and other animal control officers in Ocean Springs, Moss Point and Pascagoula have help getting lost pets home sooner. Two weeks ago, Jackson County Spay and Neuter donated microchip scanners to the cities.

"I have scanned multiple animals with it, however, only two have been microchipped. But in both of those instances, I was able to get the animals back to their owners," said Malis.

Helene Hicks of Jackson County Spay and Neuter turned to community members like Dr. Lauren Timmons to help pay for the scanners, which run about $200 each.

"With the animal control officers in the cities, they didn't have scanners in their trucks so they were going to various vets or to the shelter to scan the animal to see if it had a chip," Hicks said. "With the animal control officers having the scanners in their trucks now, they can scan the animals in their trucks."

Dr. Lauren Timmons said, "I love animals and I'm very sensitive to Helene's cause. She does a lot with animals, rescuing dogs and cats. I've lost a pet before that was chipped. This is one more way they can locate animals quicker. "

"When I heard that they didn't have this essential tool, I just thought it was kind of like doing accounting without a computer, or dentistry without modern equipment," said Dr. Timmons. "I said, 'This is a must for them.'"

Malis said, "It allows us to come to a much quicker resolution to get animals back to their homes instead of taking them to the animal shelter. It's a great outcome because we don't have to waste the gas shuttling animals back and forth. It just really really helps us. It's a great tool. "

Hicks hopes when people hear that local animal control officers have scanners they will be more apt to get their pets chipped to improve chances for their safe return.

Hicks said Dr. Timmons bought two scanners for Pascagoula, Mayor Connie Moran purchased one for Ocean Springs, Ginger Lay bought the one for Gautier, and Jackson County Spay and Neuter purchased for Moss Point.

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