Pethealth Inc.
TSX : PTZ

Pethealth Inc.

May 02, 2011 15:13 ET

Nine Puppies Stolen From the Animal Shelter Inc. of Sterling, MA Returned With the Help of 24PetWatch Microchips

OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 2, 2011) - Pethealth Inc. (TSX:PTZ) ("Pethealth" or the "Company") 24PetWatch microchips played an important role in the safe recovery and legal proof of ownership of nine puppies stolen from Animal Shelter Inc. in Sterling, Massachusetts in mid-March, allowing animal control officers and shelter staff to verify the identities of the missing dogs amidst numerous false leads, sightings, and tips.

The ninth and final puppy was returned over three weeks after the theft. Scout, a black Labrador retriever mix, had been under the care of a woman in Clinton, north of Worcester where the first eight puppies were found throughout the city. Using an electronic scanner, the Sterling Animal Control Officer was able to confirm the ninth puppy was Scout based on her microchip ID number. All nine puppies were safely recovered and have since been adopted.

"We never could have anticipated how important microchipping would become for us," says Leigh Grady, Executive Director of Animal Shelter Inc. of Sterling, MA. "Not only were we spared the heartbreak of misidentification and identity disputes, but we were also able to extend our rescue efforts to a vast network of shelters, rescues, animal control officers, and veterinary clinics. Integrated into our shelter activities, the 24PetWatch identification program has proven itself to be a valuable asset to our organization and an important part of effective protection against theft and loss for our adoptable pets."

Through its 24PetWatch and PetPoint brands, Pethealth is the leading provider of RFID microchip technology to companion animals and the leading provider of animal data management technology to animal welfare groups in North America. As a condition of licensing the Company's PetPoint animal management software for free, organizations like Animal Shelter Inc. of Sterling are required to participate in its pet identification program via the24PetWatch microchip and corresponding external ID tag. Integrating comprehensive pet identification into shelter activities is part of Pethealth's strategy to promote best practices and reduce the number of stray pets entering shelters.

Once reported stolen, the 24PetWatch Lost Pet Recovery network was able to flag each puppy's microchip identification number, ensuring any animals scanned with the corresponding IDs could be held until the appropriate authorities were notified. By offering easy, free registration of each microchip at the point of implantation through PetPoint, every adoptable cat or dog entering a shelter, such as Animal Shelter Inc. of Sterling, can be traced back to the group from which it came. Additionally, 24PetWatch microchips can always be tracked to the organization that purchases them.

"This is a valuable example of the necessity of using both external and internal methods of pet identification," says Mark Warren, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pethealth Inc. "A collar and ID tag is an excellent method of ensuring the quick return of a lost pet. However, unlike a collar and tag, a registered microchip provides legal proof of ownership and it will not fall off or be easily removed. In this case, by virtue of our 24PetWatch identification program, all nine puppies gained the necessary level of protection that would ultimately assist in their safe return."

Microchips are glass-encased transponders carrying unique numbers that can be read at a particular frequency, typically embedded beneath the skin and between the shoulder blades. Microchip scanners are ubiquitous among North American animal welfare groups, including clinics and rescues, where scanning is a regular part of stray intake activities. Through its 24PetWatch brand, Pethealth sold over 1.2 million microchips to 2,659 animal welfare groups last year.

In a 2009 study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA), Dr. Linda Lord of Ohio State University presented a strong case for microchipping as a valuable means of permanent pet identification. The return to owner rate for microchipped cats and dogs was 20 and 2.5 times higher respectively than the return rates for all stray cats and dogs entering shelters. The same study also found the primary reason microchipped pets are not returned to their owners is incorrect registration of information in the microchip database; the 24PetWatch database was found to be 50% more accurate than its largest competitors.

All 24PetWatch microchips come with free initial registration, after which pet owners can purchase either an annual or lifetime membership to the Lost Pet Recovery Database and its associated services.

About 24Petwatch Microchip ID

24PetWatch has been dedicated to the safety of cats and dogs since 2003. With a comprehensive line of exclusive products and services designed to enhance and protect the lives of companion animals, 24PetWatch gives pet owners and their pets access to health, happiness and peace of mind. Lost pets found with a collar and tag can be reported by calling 1-866-597-2424. Once notified, a 24PetWatch lost pet recovery specialist will report the pet found and contact the owner directly so they can be reunited with their pet. If there is no collar tag or if it is unreadable or scratched, lost pets should be taken to the nearest animal shelter, veterinary clinic, or rescue group where the pet can be scanned for a microchip. For more information about 24PetWatch Microchip ID and 24PetWatch Insurance programs, visit www.24petwatch.com.

About Pethealth Inc.

Pethealth is a leading provider of companion animal services in North America. In addition, the Company is the leading provider of management software to North American animal welfare organizations through its SaaS-based application and is the leading provider of pet related database management services to the North American companion animal industry. Pethealth offers a unique range of products and services for veterinarians, shelters and pet owners through a number of wholly owned subsidiaries using a range of brand names including PetCare, 24PetWatch, PetProtect, petPals Direct, ShelterCare, PetPoint, Petango.com and ThePetangoStore.com.

Pethealth is based in Oakville, Ontario. To find out more about Pethealth, visit the web site at www.pethealthinc.com.

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