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This is horrible. I loathe this company -- their chips are often marketed as "24PetWatch" -- but it's the same company. Almost every public shelter in my area uses these chips, and I'm sure that's true in a lot of places.

I actively tell shelters not to put these chips in dogs I'm planning to pull so that we can put our own chips in instead.

Petpoint has the shelter-management software market cornered. They offer the shelter their management software for "free" -- the software tracks animals, intake, vetting, care notes, adoptions, etc. so it's crucial to operations, and shelters can't afford to buy it. But there's a catch: they make shelters buy their microchips exclusively in return for the software, and if the shelter registers any chip not from PetPoint/24PetWatch into the software, then the shelter is charged a substantial fee, per record, for every competitor chip logged into any record in the software. The shelters are hostage because they can't afford to port over to more open software (like RescueGroups).

Meanwhile, I was told by a competitor of theirs that the PetPoint/24Petwatch company really makes their money as a pet insurance company and sees their chips as a way to ensure a steady stream of marketing leads. In my experience, every adopter who registers one of these chips gets a hard sell on "upgrading" and a package that makes it look like they need to pay for an "upgrade" to keep the chip registered (they don't), and they get marketed pet insurance plans that I don't like at all.

Meanwhile, whenever dogs come into rescue with these 24Petwatch chips that are already registered but have been surrendered by a former owner, it takes me multiple faxes and lots of aggravation to get their chips transferred to the rescue and/or a new adopter. It seems like they just ignore the transfer requests, often repeatedly, even when there's a well-documented paper-trail of owner relinquishment, so I have to keep trying -- sometimes for months. I tend to curse out loud whenever I get a packet of records for a new dog and see one of these chips is already in the dog.
 

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What microchip company would you recommend, Magwart? I believe my puppy will come home already microchipped from the breeder, but I don't know which company she plans to use. I will have to ask.

My golden retriever was microchipped, but we had to pay monthly fees to keep it updated, so we gave up on it. I'm sure it still has our name attached to it, but the address and phone number are definitely wrong.
 

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Saint came with one of these microchips, after we changed the necessary information we opted out. It was my impression from the adoption agency that any a vet or dog control officer could scan that chip too. Also I put my trust in the dog license and ID tags for recovery purposes. Sure circumstances could arise...but you can't defend against every contingency.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
@Magwart, Am I understanding correctly that the contact information on PetPoint microchips is PetPoint and not the actual owner or Rescue?

This sounds like a tangled nightmare. I hope that however the organization found out about what they are doing, they have hard proof and hope there is nothing in the contract that protects PP from negligence.
 

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@Magwart, Am I understanding correctly that the contact information on PetPoint microchips is PetPoint and not the actual owner or Rescue?

Sort of. It's always the chip company in the first instance -- you scan, and all you get is the number that leads you to the chip company. Then you have to call the chip company to get the owners' contact info -- depending on what box the owner checked when they registered, they either give out their name and number, or they put the caller on hold and try to contact the owner without divulging their info.

My experience with this company giving out owner names is they just spit it out and hang up, taking no further action to try to secondarily reach out to the owner (just putting it all on the finder). They sometimes fat-finger the microchip number and give out the wrong owner name -- that's happened to me (I got a call about a lost dog on the other side of the country, because they had incorrectly entered my dog's chip number, and I knew he wasn't lost because he was lying on feet...but since it was all on the finder, the 24PW had no idea they'd given out the wrong info).

After the first year, you also have to pay them more money if you move and want to update your info. That's true of AVID too. Datamars/Petlink can be updated for free online, for life -- philosophically they want to encourage people to keep updated info (and they even send emails nudging people to log in once a year and check the info to be sure it's up to date).

Datamars/Petlink also has a guardianship feature for rescues so the rescue automatically gets contacted if one of their alumni ever ends up in a shelter, along with the registered owner. They generate that email to the rescue instantly upon hearing from the shelter. We have cell, landline, and work phone numbers for adopters, so even if the adopter doesn't take the call from the unrecognized number from the chip co., they'll take our calls and texts. Sometimes if a dog just busted out of a yard somehow and ends up in the shelter, we can just go get the dog out of the shelter and take it home, or hold it until the adopter gets off work, so they don't have to worry about shelter closing hours. (Bonus: the shelter waives fines if a rescue gets the dog out, so the owner saves about $100.)


I don't know if Petlink/Datamars would offer the guardianship feature for breeders, but it's worth asking. Layers of protection through the co-notification system help get dogs home faster (and prevent bad buyers/adopters from getting away with dumping dogs without notifying their breeder or rescue).
 

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HORRIBLE.... Thanks for the info. My boy's microchip is Michelson Found Animals btw. I can update anytime anywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Magwart for all of this information. I keep thinking about how manipulative that deal was/is.

It's definitely something to keep in the back of my mind under "questions to ask the rescue" if/when I ever do adopt.

Waiting to here back from my son about his rescue pup's chip
 

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If you know rescues or shelters who are trapped by this, please convey that it IS possible to port to free, open, nonprofit software (= RescueGroups.org). I love RescueGroups software.

It's just a matter of exporting all your files into a spreadsheet-like format, and then setting up the new software to import them. There are people who can help them. PM me and I can hook them up with help.

HomeAgain is okay -- they'll market an upgrade plan but it's not necessary. It's a one-time $17 fee to register, but if the register uses their chips regularly, I think they discount it to $10 (on top of the cost of the chip). I find that expensive from a rescue perspective, since we would pay that registration. They seem set up on the assumption that the adopter will pay it, which leaves too much to chance IMHO. The customer service is at least pretty decent. They give free boxes of chips for every so many you buy, so that may balance out the fee -- that's a pretty good perk for rescues and shelters.


Avid/AKC is popular with breeders. They bug me because they charge you to update the registration, but other than that, they're quite good about helping get dogs back home. They have smart CS people who work hard to sleuth out ways to find people who have outdated information, which I really appreciate.


Things I love about Datamars/Petlink:

-price (even for small rescues buying in small quantity, it's just $10/chip with lifetime registration...and the price goes down with quantity)--they trounce others on price once activation/registration is figured in!

-no registration fee for adopters, ever

-no marketing garbage for adopters

-ease of registration (it takes a few key strokes in our RescueGroups interface to link a chip with an adopter electronic file, which then automatically registers the chip)

-customer service (they have smart people working for them who solve problems quickly--actual humans to talk to, not just a fax number that goes into the ether)

-their business model is microchips and animal tracking (both food animals AND companion animals), so all their R&D money and business resources are focused on getting that right (instead of being a pet insurance company that views microchips as a "marketing tool")

-they put aside a pool of money into trust to guarantee that if the company were to ever go under, their chip registry will be funded for the lives of all the animals in it

-they "get" rescues and have dedicated people to provide customer service to rescues -- they called me without prompting when our region went through the Great Flood of 2016 and wanted to send a supply of microchips (incl. registrations) to the disaster intake sites to help them keep track of "found" dogs and cats being fished out of floodwaters...which keeps animals from getting "lost" in the shuffle when they have to be transferred from one temporary emergency site to another (tracking "found" dogs is a HUGE problem in all the chaos--so access to free chips and a registration portal with a picture and ability to update what site the dog is currently, right down to a kennel number, in is a massive advantage)
 

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Cava came with the Datamars/Petlink chip, which I'd never heard of. Back when my previous dogs were microchipped as pups they got Home Again chips. I'm glad to hear it's a good one, but just in case I registered it both with Petlink and also with AKC Reunite.
 

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Given the differences between the business models of these companies, it's not hard to decide which to go with! Thanks for posting this info!

On another note, due to info in another thread about how microchips can migrate around, I asked my Vet to scan the microchip in my dog at her 1 yr checkup just to verify it was there and still readable...I had them chip her at about 14 wks. They scanned her all over, then replaced batteries in the scanner and tried again, then they verified the scanner was working by scanning a new chip - still could not find the chip! So they suggested x-rays, and honestly started making me a little nervous, because they were getting nervous! So they x-rayed her from head to tail, and still could not locate any chip! At this point, they offered to re-chip her, and this time around they used some skin glue to seal the insertion point. Hopefully all good right?

Well, due to this conversation I checked the chip company, mine is AKC Reunite. And I found a web page that whose database covers most all major chip companies (including all of those mentioned in this thread) and allows you to look up registered owner contact info petchip.info. So I entered my pup's chip number, and it came back that the number was unregistered!

I'm waiting now to hear back from my Vet as to how I can go about updating my dog's info...

But I wanted to bring this up so everyone is aware that it pays to check on both the chip and the registration info for that chip periodically! We chip our dog's for safety, but clearly my dog hasn't benefited from that for the past 17 months!
 

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Pet Chip Registry registers and displays owner contact information for all brands of pet microchips including Home Again ®, AVID™ AKC CAR/EID™, Digital Angel®, ResQ®, ALLFLEX®, Schering Plough™, 24 PET WATCH™, Lifechip®, Banfield®, Crystal Tag™, Datamars™ & Destron Fearing™ once submitted.
I checked Cava's and she's showing as unregistered too. But I found the above on their site, and it looks like you have to submit the info directly to them, they don't just pull it from other registries. For a fee, of course.
 

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This is the universal lookup that shelters use:
Microchip Search | AAHA Universal Pet Microchip Lookup

The microchip registries are supposed to connect to it. A few of them are proprietary (which is kind of ugly), and then the chip lookup just says to call the chip manufacturer's registry to check for registration.

This video shows how it works:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=139&v=jthjs8NngrU


Tim, you can either pay AKC Reunite to register the new chip, or pay a different registry. AKC will charge you a few bucks any time you update the registry info -- not a big deal if you own your home, never change phone numbers, etc. But if you're in a life-phase that involves moving around a lot, it can add up. The fact that they blew your initial registration of the other chip is troubling -- I've heard of that happening if you don't send them a check with filled-out brochure that came with the chip. :/
 

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Cool, Cava's microchip shows up as registered in Petlink and AKC on the AAHA lookup site.
 

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So AKC Reunite is a registry, not the manufacturer?

The sad part here is that my Vet "should" have given me this information! But since this was a re-chip, they didn't ask me for an email address, or give me a brochure along with the tag with the chip number on it. I did get a brochure with the initial chip, but no instructions regarding registry...

When I called the Vet, the receptionist tried to redirect me to the 800 number for AKC Reunite. But I pushed back! I paid them for the microchip and was assured at that time it would be registered with my correct contact info.

Still waiting for the Vet to call back...
 

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A further wrinkle -- I just heard that 24PW may actually still be contacting people whose dogs are found, even after they opt out of marketing -- but only by EMAIL (so no phone call, I guess?). That's better than nothing, but still not very reassuring.

There's a lot of confusion right now. I don't like confusion where lost dogs are concerned.


I know that some rescues LOVE them -- in part because they give a free trial of a few months of pet insurance with the adoption, which seems like a nice benefit for adopters.
 

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When I called the Vet, the receptionist tried to redirect me to the 800 number for AKC Reunite. But I pushed back! I paid them for the microchip and was assured at that time it would be registered with my correct contact info.
I've had several cats and dogs microchipped and the vet has never sent in the registration for me, that's something that I've always done. The price you pay to the vet includes the cost of the chip and insertion, registering it is up to you.
 
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