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Pet safety is no April Fool's Day joke in Brookhaven

Eloise Campbell of Middle Island brought her 6-month-old

Eloise Campbell of Middle Island brought her 6-month-old Shih Tzu, Cosmo, to receive a free microchip at the Town of Brookhaven Animal Shelter on April 1, 2012. Photo Credit: Michael Cusanelli

As a former dog groomer, Dori Scofield knows her way around pets.

Now as the director of the Town of Brookhaven Animal Shelter in North Bellport, Scofield is dedicated to helping town residents keep track of their beloved family pets.

“My goal is to microchip every animal in Brookhaven,” said Scofield, who has been the director of the shelter for a little more than a year, "because we have so many homeless animals waiting to be redeemed, and they [the owners] never come.”

The animal shelter offered residents free microchipping, ID tags and collars for their pets this weekend. On Sunday, 23 animals received microchips, which will allow their owners to recover them in case they are lost or run away from home.

Eileen Miller, 52, of Manorville brought her three cats to receive the free microchips on Sunday. One of her pets was a runaway that she was unable to return to its owner because the cat didn’t have an ID microchip.

“I think it’s a great program,” Miller said. “I hope that people take advantage of this program.”

Because the Brookhaven animal shelter is home to more than 200 animals without owners, Scofield wants to raise awareness about the importance of having pets microchipped.

“It amazes me how many dogs don’t have collars and tags and aren’t spayed and neutered,” she said.

Scofield said she hoped that pet owners in lower-income areas would take advantage of the free food, collars and ID tags that the shelter frequently offers local pet owners.

Pets with microchip ID tags can be tracked via www.homeagain.com, and are registered free for life. According to the homeagain.com website, the microchip is about the size of a single grain of rice and allows pet shelters to identify animals with a unique ID code so that they can safely be returned to their owners. It costs $45 for the microchip and $18 for the annual membership fee, according to the website.

Doreen Rowan, 55, and Sarah Hahn, 59, both of Centereach, brought their three dogs to the shelter this weekend in order to have them tagged.

“We felt like it was a very good idea to get them microchipped and get good collars,” said Rowan. “It’s a responsible thing to do.”

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