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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. –  It’s heartbreaking when your beloved pet runs away from home and you can’t find it. That’s why No Kill Huntsville is urging people to microchip their pets.

“This year alone we’ve had 1,600 animals enter the shelter that were found running at large and only 18 percent have made it back home,” Aubrie Kavanaugh, No Kill Huntsville spokesperson, said.

The agency and Huntsville Animal Services is trying to increase the ‘return to owner rate.’ The organization said one out of every three pets goes missing in any given year. Ninety percent of them never make it home because they’re never identified.

“You just never know what’s going to happen,” Kavanaugh said. “A lot of people think that animals get loose, or end up in our shelter due to personal irresponsibility. That’s not always the case. Fireworks happen, they’re going to happen soon, somebody leaves a gate open, a child leaves a door open.”

A microchip seriously increases your chances of reuniting with your dog or cat. That’s why No Kill Huntsville is hosting a Chipathon throughout July. The microchip is a small vial implanted under the animal’s skin which can be scanned if the pet gets lost.

“We’re encouraging people to get pets chipped for $20, which is a really reasonable rate because we want to help Huntsville Animal Services,” Kavanaugh said.

South Memorial Veterinary Services is located inside the Pet Depot at 10008 Memorial Parkway SW. Microchip services are available by appointment or on a walk-in basis at South Memorial Veterinary Services, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.