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EdCarroll
06-10-2008, 04:22 PM
In my cozy the “Pet Detective” is able to identify a lost puppy by its tattoo.

I have only heard of tattooing pets, where (on the dog) is it done and what is tattooed (a phone number or ambiguous serial number)?

Thanks,

Ed

Alice.S
06-10-2008, 04:24 PM
Do you mean like a micro-chip??

Mr Flibble
06-10-2008, 04:28 PM
I found this for you:


Tattooing is a permanent ID system that involves marking a code on the skin of the pet. A tattoo is placed in the pet's ear, abdomen, or on the inside of the pet's thigh. The finder of the lost pet calls a national database that uses the code to obtain the owner's current address and phone number. Each registry has its own coding system. This is an invaluable form of identification should a pet be stolen for research, since laboratories will instantly know the animal is not abandoned but a beloved pet.

Racing greyhounds are always identified by tattoos in both ears.

However, I don't know anyone who has had any animal other than a horse tattooed ( freeze marking on the withers or tattoo under top lip usually). Other animals ( and most horses tbh) are chipped these days.

chevbrock
06-10-2008, 04:29 PM
The tattoo is usually on the inside of the ear.

I'm not sure about what would be put on a pets, but for greyhounds the number is a a kind of registration number, I believe. Maybe a vet would be able to give you more insight on this.

wombat
06-10-2008, 04:56 PM
I interviewed a shelter guy last week for a story about lost pets and we talked about ID methods. He says that no one recommends tattooing anymore, microchipping is the way to go.

With microchips, the companies do maintain a central database to call. With tattoos, I'm not sure there is a database anymore.

I think it's unlikely a puppy would be tattooed, then. An older dog might have a old tattoo.

If you really want to go with this for some reason, I have a vague recollection of suggestions that people use their social security number as the tattoo. What you'd have to think of was what made sense to someone who was stubbornly sticking to an outdated technology. They wouldn't use their cell phone number, I'm guessing - that seems inconsistent.

But it would make a lot more sense to just go with a microchip if what you need is a method to identify a lost dog with no tags.

EdCarroll
06-10-2008, 09:47 PM
Thank you Wombat and Idiot. My protagonist, a transit-bus driver, found a pet dog along his route and called another bus driver who often reunites lost pets and owners. The Pet Detective always has the lost & found sections of local newspapers handy, and conducts all of her work over her cell phone. She’s pretty lo-tech and I assume the average citizen wouldn’t be able to read a micro-chip.

Otherwise a chip would be the perfect solution
This is going to be a humorous cozy so authenticity isn’t as important as the driver trying to capture the dog. I’m thinking of having the driver give her the tattooed serial number and she would know who to call.

C.bronco
06-10-2008, 10:03 PM
I'd opt for something more original, such as a heart with "Mom" inside tattooed on the dog's butt, but that's just me.

Luckily, I do not have a dog.

auntybug
06-10-2008, 10:03 PM
One of the vets I worked for out 4 numbers on the dogs inner thigh. We had a few people pissed cause they wanted their SSN's. He said on the chance its recovered - 4 numbers was plenty. We did find a dog abandoned in a sugar cane fiend that had a number in her ear though - she was never claimed & became our hospital mascot.

wombat
06-11-2008, 12:05 AM
Thank you Wombat and Idiot. My protagonist, a transit-bus driver, found a pet dog along his route and called another bus driver who often reunites lost pets and owners. The Pet Detective always has the lost & found sections of local newspapers handy, and conducts all of her work over her cell phone. She’s pretty lo-tech and I assume the average citizen wouldn’t be able to read a micro-chip.

Otherwise a chip would be the perfect solution
This is going to be a humorous cozy so authenticity isn’t as important as the driver trying to capture the dog. I’m thinking of having the driver give her the tattooed serial number and she would know who to call.


She could bring the dog to a shelter or to a vet to have the chip read. All shelters should have them, because the chip companies give them away for free.

For what it's worth, speaking as a reader of humorous cozies, it would annoy me if this detail was wrong. I'd find it a lot less implausible if the character had managed to finagle a chip reader out of one of the companies, since she does this all the time and they give them away for free anyway.

Or, if the newspaper lost pet sections are involved, why not just do it via the description of the dog in a lost ad?

Soccer Mom
06-11-2008, 12:10 AM
How about this simple solution: Your detective ID's the dog from his rabies tag. I"ve done this before. The tag around the neck has the phone number of the vet who issued it. The vet can then give contact information for the owner. I've actually done this before.

I used to have my horses tattooed or freeze-branded. Now we chip them. The only animals I know of that are still tattooed are rabbits and it's done on the ear.

EdCarroll
06-11-2008, 12:22 AM
Wombat,

I had no idea that a chip reader was so easy (and portable) to get. Do you think the first driver would be able to tell if the dog has a micro-chip?

Mr Flibble
06-11-2008, 12:28 AM
My dog's chipped, and even looking for it, I can't feel it. But if you're used to dealing with strays, it'd be the first thing to do -- scan for a chip.

Kalyke
06-11-2008, 12:34 AM
Its not a phone number as a person is apt to change that. These days a micorchip is more likely. A serial number is usually found on the ear. The only tattoo I have seen would be the tattoo given a spayed female in order to halt an unnecessary re-spaying (opening up and finding out the operation has already been done). This tattoo is a female sign (a circle with a cross) which is crossed out like the Euro No symbol.

A chip is easy to get. It's between 30-60 dollars and is injected under the skin without anesthetic. Vets usually automatically check with a little wave wand thing to see if there is a chip.

All your driver needs to do is go to a vet, which he or she would do naturally to see if the poor pup is injured. He should say "I found this dog," and the vet would say, "oh, let me test it for a chip." I found a little white dog who didn't have a chip, but the first thing I did was to bring it to the vet to make sure he was okay.

Danger Jane
06-11-2008, 02:16 AM
Wombat,

I had no idea that a chip reader was so easy (and portable) to get. Do you think the first driver would be able to tell if the dog has a micro-chip?

There's a tag that goes on the collar that indicates that my dogs are chipped.

But like IdiotsRUs said, the first thing you'd look for is the chip if you were trying to ID a stray. I THINK they tend to put them in the neck? That's where both of my dogs have them, at least, and they were chipped about 12 years apart.

wombat
06-11-2008, 03:28 AM
I've always seen the chip put in sort of between the shoulder blades - I guess you could call it the back of the neck. You can't tell if it's there without a reader.

They do give you a collar tag to use to say the dog is chipped, but if the dog in the story has still got a collar and said tag - or the rabies tag like Soccer Mom suggests - you have to explain what happened to its tag with its name and address? Most people who go to the expense of a microchip will probably have the sense to have the usual collar ID tag as well. Yes, they can fall off, get lost, etc. But you'd at least have to say something if you're going to have it wearing one kind of tag and not the other.

But yeah, like others have said - if you were someone who found lost dogs all the time like your character, you'd check for a chip automatically. You don't need some special reason to look for it - you'd just do it.

StephanieFox
06-11-2008, 05:01 AM
Oddly, the micro chip systems in the USA and in Canada are different and you usually can't read the US chips on a Canadian machine but you CAN read a Canadian chip on a US machine. Most of the world uses the Canadian kind. I don't know why the US's chips are different.

People were tattooing dogs 15 years ago, but not anymore.

Ken
06-11-2008, 05:27 AM
A chip is easy to get. It's between 30-60 dollars.

quite reasonable fee, and well worth it.

JimmyB27
06-11-2008, 03:21 PM
Am I the only one who was expecting a story about a rottweiler with a heart and 'I love Tracey' inked onto his shoulder?

wombat
06-11-2008, 04:32 PM
Oddly, the micro chip systems in the USA and in Canada are different and you usually can't read the US chips on a Canadian machine but you CAN read a Canadian chip on a US machine. Most of the world uses the Canadian kind. I don't know why the US's chips are different.


Even in the US there is more than one kind of chip, which was a problem a while ago, but now there are readers that read both kinds.

I vaguely remember from years ago when I was working at the zoo that the American vs Canadian/European chip issue had to do with some kind of patent dispute. It came up because it was a problem because zoos had gotten into the chipping business early and had used the European chips and then couldn't get chips or readers anymore.

I believe that the American chip readers will detect the presence of a European chip but can't read the code - so you know that it's there and that you have to track down the other kind of reader. Might be useful for a plot in which you needed an excuse to stretch out the process...

Tsu Dho Nimh
06-11-2008, 10:03 PM
The puppy could have its breed registry's number tattooed on it. Those are unique for a breed.

Carmy
06-13-2008, 10:12 PM
My female had a chip inserted between her shoulderblades at the same time she was spayed.

She was rescued from the Humane Society and it is mandatory to spay and chip her in Canada.

HeronW
06-15-2008, 04:55 AM
I've heard of tracing chips that go in the butt area too. Usually you can't feel them.