If you find a lost pet here, you can now take it to any of the Memphis Fire Department (MFD) stations around the city to help them be reunited with their owner.
Through the Fire Finders program, a partnership of Memphis Animal Services (MAS) and MFD, each of the city’s 58 fire stations will now be equipped with a scanner to detect microchips, the small electronic chips that are implanted into pets to help locate them when lost.
MFD personnel will be trained to scan pets and identify their owners. Once identified, the owner will be contacted and reunited with their pet.
Alexis Pugh, MAS director, said before the program, when pets were lost, they would have to be taken to a vet clinic or an animal shelter to be scanned for a microchip, but there are a number of areas here that are “veterinary deserts,” where one might have a hard time finding access to a microchip scanner.
“Every pet should have a microchip, but what we found was that not all of our citizens had the same access to getting microchips or scanning found pets for microchips,” Pugh said. “We’re solving half of that problem with the Fire Finders program, and we are working on a solution for bringing more microchip access to the community in the future.”
MFD director Gina Sweat said that the fire department here is one of the few in the country to offer a microchip scanning service.
“We’re thrilled to continue partnering with MAS to bring innovative solutions like this one to Memphis, without increasing the taxpayer burden,” Sweat said.
The program is funded by a grant from Maddie’s Fund, a foundation that provides resources to organizations around the country in an effort to create a “no-kill nation, where every dog and cat is guaranteed a healthy home or habitat.”