Pacific Beach woman gets missing cat back — 17 months later
A Pacific Beach woman and a pet cat she had considered lost and gone for good were reunited Tuesday after a 17-month separation, thanks to a good Samaritan and a microchip.
Sparr Garcia picked up long-missing J.J. from the county Department of Animal Services Gaines Street shelter Tuesday, according to agency spokesman Dan DeSousa. Garcia hadn’t seen her beloved feline since December 2009, DeSousa said.
J.J. was found Saturday, running loose but in good health in the 2400 block of Christopher Street, about a dozen blocks from Garcia’s home. The person who came across the black shorthair picked him up and brought him to the Morena-area shelter, where personnel checked for and found an implanted electronic identification device.
“The county scans all stray animals for a microchip, and fortunately for J.J., he had one,” DeSousa said.
The shelter staff then called an initially disbelieving, then overjoyed Garcia, who had assumed her cat was gone forever. She had put up signs and called shelters when J.J. went missing, to no avail.
The reunion came less than a week after a microchipped Chihuahua named Cookie returned home to her Chula Vista family after five years, also due to an identifying implant.
“The recent stories of animals being reunited with their owners prove that having your animal microchipped really increases its chances of coming home,” said Dawn Danielson, director of the animal services agency.
Microchipping was especially important for J.J., DeSousa said. Only about 4 percent of cats that arrive at county shelters are ever claimed by an owner, he noted. By comparison, dogs, which are more often identified at the shelter, are claimed by owners in about 35 percent of cases.
Animal-services officials strongly encourage all pet owners to have their animals microchipped as a form of positive identification and to register the microchip with both the company that manufactured it and the animal shelter.
The tiny implants can be obtained at all three of the county’s shelters every Thursday, from 1 to 3 p.m.
Dogs must have a current license, or the owner can purchase one when they get their animal microchipped.
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