You would have thought that if you microchip your cat you will always be able to be reunited with him if he was lost and found. This is not necessarily the case. Firstly, micro-chipping is not, I’m told, evidence on its own of cat ownership. I presume it is evidence that supports ownership but micro-shipping does not mean that you automatically own a cat that you have had microchipped. It is a “record of keepership”, whatever that means. Keeping a cat is very close to ownership in my book. Anyway there are complications surprisingly. Microchipping should be full evidence of ownership.
Secondly, a peculiar story indicates that microchipping does not always assist you in being reunited with your lost but found cat. Tigger is a Bengal cat living in the UK. He disappeared about four years ago. He was microchipped.
An anonymous person found him. They had Tigger’s microchip scanned. The scan told them that Tigger’s details were listed on the database of a company called Petlog. They contacted Petlog and requested that they change the information regarding ownership to record them as owners. The company then contacted the true owner, Karen Young, about what had happened but when requested by Karen they would not disclose the name and contact details of the person or persons who had found Tigger. The reason they gave was that they could not disclose the name and address because of the rules under the Data Protection Act.
Petlog stated that it was up to the people who found Tigger to hand him over to Karen. It was up to them to contact Karen to make arrangements for the handover. Of course, this has not happened because the people who found him want to keep him and want to register their name on the microchip as Tigger’s owner. And that is how the matter has come to a standstill.
The police have become involved and have, through a third party, been able to make contact with the anonymous people who are the current keepers of Tigger. They have informed them that they have to hand over the cat to the rightful owners. Karen Young is awaiting that moment at the time of writing this article.
If the anonymous keepers of Tigger fail to take action as requested by the police then the police can do nothing about it in my opinion because this would then become a question of ownership of a chattel. It would become a dispute about ownership which would have to be resolved in a civil court and the action will have to be brought by Karen Young.
It would be a major obstacle to Karen Young in the recovery of her cat. It may be difficult to run such a case because the defendant would be nameless without an address. It would seem to me that it would be impossible to serve papers on the defendant and I’m not sure that such a case would get off the ground.
It is just possible that the police would decide that Karen is the owner and threat the matter as the theft of an £800 Bengal cat but I very much doubt it.
The moral of the story is that microchipping your cat does not assist adequately in the recovery of your cat under certain circumstances. The argument that they cannot disclose information because of the Data Protection Act is one that is commonly used. It is a piece of legislation which has weaknesses and which is often abused in my opinion.