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Free pet microchipping clinic offered Saturday

The Cloquet Police Department and Animal Allies Humane Society (AAHS) are partnering to provide the first 100 Cloquet and Scanlon residents pets with free microchipping and tags Saturday, Oct. 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

AAHS will bring its mobile unit to the Veterans Memorial Park pavillion in Cloquet.

"The entire appointment takes about five minutes," AAHS Director Lindsay Snustad said. She explained that the procedure only takes a few seconds; the rest of the time is gathering information and registration of the chip. The chip is inserted under the skin using a sterile needle, similar to getting a vaccine.

The pets are taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

A photo ID will be required to prove residency. Only two pets per household are allowed. All pets must be on a leash or in a pet carrier. Owners must clean up any messes their pets make.

"There has been a positive response with a lot of pet owners showing interest," CPD Commander Carey Ferrell said. "Not only our community, but surrounding communities as well, which indicates there is a strong need to continue these events in our community."

The event is focused on residents of Cloquet and Scanlon to help them become compliant with the recent changes in the city ordinance requiring pets to have microchips or tags.

The ordinance has been changed to say "running at large" in the animal control ordinance to only animals "causing damage to property or injury to people other than its owners while at large," except in defense of the animals owner or the owner's family.

The licensing clause was also altered to require that any pet over 4 months old must wear an ID tag or have a microchip.

The CPD purchased a chip reader earlier in the year when the city decided not to renew its contract for stray animals with Friends of Animals.

When pets are microchipped, it helps officers reunite pets with their owners more efficiently. Pets can be unpredictable and sometimes accidents happen. A pup can slip out of its collar or escape through an open door without their collars on. If a pet is stolen, a microchip can also prove ownership.

"Most of the animals that come into the shelter are not microchipped," Snustad said. "It's great to microchip your pet, but it's equally as important to register the chip and keep it up-to-date with your most current contact information."

She noted that some pets that end up at AAHS do have microchips, but they have outdated information, so the owner can't be contacted.

CPD officers scan lost pets, but the majority have not been microchipped. Next, they post photos of found pets on social media, while the person who found the animal usually keeps it until the owner has been located. If the finder can't keep the animal, they can try calling AAHS to see if they have room to take it until the owner has been found.