Julie Moskove is a New York native with an interesting career; she is the founder and president of Tatoo-A-Pet, a service that provides identification tattoos for cats and dogs as an alternative to tags or microchips. Moskove wholeheartedly believes in the philosophy behind animal ink.
Despite our misgivings, there is no doubt that the sentiment behind Tatoo-A-Pet is a noble one. In 1965, while living in Brooklyn, NY, Julie Moskove returned home one night to find that her apartment had been burglarized. The television was still in place, the jewelry was untouched and no money was missing. It only took a second for Julie to realize that the thieves had come for one thing only, her most valued possession: Brandy, her five-year-old teacup poodle. Her baby was gone. In an effort to retrieve him, Moskove started up her own grooming business. She opened a shop called Puppy Love, hoping that if Brandy’s “new owner” was local, Brandy would be brought in for a bath and a reunion. To Moskove’s dismay, that day never came. However, Moskove realized that even if Brandy was brought in there was no method to positively identify him. A collar and tag, which were most likely removed, would be her only proof. A few years later, Tattoo-A-Pet was visualized and created.
Located in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Tattoo-A-Pet has been in business for 36 years. Tattoo-A-Pet has agents in all states and in locations across the globe. “There is no better way to ID your pet than with a tattoo. Many people are under the impression that the microchip is the most effective measure to secure your animal. 90% of lost animals with the microchip are never recovered,” said Moskove.
Tattoo-A-Pet’s approach is to mark your animal and keep it on file. When an animal that is registered with Tattoo-A-Pet, goes missing, the “hot sheet” is sent out to vets and shelters in the state. This sheet gives the description of the animal as well as the tattoo number. If the animal shows up at a shelter with a matching description and number, they are one phone call away from being returned.
Very often when an animal is stolen, they are sold to research labs. However, if the animal has a tattoo, it is unacceptable. A “donated” animal with a tattoo is clearly a stolen one. Not every animal is checked for a microchip.
Moskove points out, “It takes no time to check the number. It’s a clear and visible sign that the pet has a parent”. Furthermore, she informs us that the American Kennel Club requires that every animal have a permanent form of ID, whether it be a tattoo or a microchip, and Moskove insists that a tattoo is the optimal form of identification.
When the pet identification microchip hit the market, it seemed like the doggie tattoo business was in serious jeapordy. The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. It is injected into the animal, usually between the shoulder blades, and contains the animal’s and owner’s information. And while tattooing your pet may sound extreme, there are some deeply concerning setbacks associating with microchipping your pet. One major misconception about the microchip is that it is a tracking device. It is not. The chip is strictly an answer key. The information is retrieved once the animal is. This information is available via a scanner, which is placed above the animal and reads the chip. Although only a single chip is injected into the dog, there are seven types of microchips available. Each microchip operates on a different frequency. The scanner detects this frequency in order to decode the information inside. However, each chip is only compatible with a certain type of scanner. If your Fido shows up at a shelter and his microchip is not compatible with their scanner, he is unreadable. The chip has also been known to relocate itself inside the animal. “Many animals who were microchipped were undetectable because the chip had made its way in to the tail,” explains Moskove. “It isn’t healthy for them, and most importantly it isn’t serving its purpose.”
Since these discoveries, more people now are having their pet inked instead of chipped. And with the microchip option baring a hefty price tag, Maskove touts Tattoo-A-Pet as the affordable way to have your dog registered for life.
So whether or not you are gung-ho about getting your furry friend inked, the practice of tattooing pets for identification is certainly not without its merits.
For more interesting stories about people, pets, and animal rescue check out www.animalfair.com