GILBERT, Ariz. - Everyone has the best intentions when adopting a new pet, but sometimes, things happen.
Animal lovers with Friends For Life Animal Rescue in Gilbert recently flew to three states in January to save cats they adopted out more than a decade ago.
Friends for Life says it’s in its name: life. It says it’s important its contact information is on every pets' microchip it adopts out to make sure if something goes wrong and the original owners are unreachable, it can advocate for the pet.
The rescue has proved this method has in fact saved lives.
Hunter arrived back in Phoenix after being abandoned in Utah. Tyler was abandoned in Wisconsin. Rilo was given up in Colorado. All teenage cats that were originally adopted out years ago from Friends for Life.
"They were let outside, turned into a facility somewhere else. Luckily their microchip traced back to us, we got the call, and we dispatched volunteers to pick them up and bring them back to us," said Barb Savoy with Friends for Life.
She says they’ll travel anywhere to save animals that were once in their care, believing it’s the rescue's responsibility to make sure an animal it adopted out never ends up in a kill shelter.
In 2021, Eddie the cat's owners listed on the microchip were unreachable when he was found badly hurt. Thankfully, because Friends for Life was also listed on the chip, it covered all the expenses.
"He was very touch and go. We weren’t sure for the first few days if he was going to make it. So yeah, if they didn’t have anyone financially responsible for a senior Chihuahua, they would have euthanized him," Savoy said.
The rescue was distraught when it found out Maricopa County Animal Care and Control removed the rescue as a secondary contact on 900 adopted animals since 2020.
"When we’ve been sending in their rabies information, animal care and control has been erasing us from the microchip information and including only the adopter, and we can see just from these three cats what could potentially happen," Savoy explained.
Those cats are safe now and can be adopted again. The rescue will make sure its contact information stays on the chip.
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control said in a statement that it’s up to the new owners to include Friends for Life on the microchip and suggested the organization add it to the contract. Friends for Life says the contract already requires it.
Savoy says the rescue found a solution and is working on adding its information back to the 900 animals' microchips the contact was removed from.
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