A long lost pet shows the benefits of micro-chipping four-legged loved ones Late on a recent Saturday night, the "Times Square Zombie" was walking on 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan when he saw a black and white cat running rampant in the middle of the street. Jeremy Zelkowitz, a 22-year-old Brooklyn native, who works as a promoter and dresses in character as a zombie for Times Scare, a year-round haunted house located on Eighth Avenue, saw the fugitive cat trying to enter Dallas BBQ and later Starbucks. According to Zelkowitz, the cat then darted on and off of the road interrupting traffic. That's when he and a friend decided to help and took the curious cat to nearby BluePearl Veterinary Partners specialty and emergency hospital in Manhattan on 55th Street. Once at BluePearl, doctors used a microchip scanner and were able to determine the cat, named Disaster, belonged to Jimmy Helliesen, a Long Island resident and New York City Police Officer. "When our staff initially called Mr. Helliesen, he couldn't believe it and thought we were playing a practical joke on him," said Steve Baker, hospital administrator of BluePearl in Manhattan. "He said Disaster had gone missing two years ago." According to Helliesen, he has been fostering cats at his home in Long Island that wind up at the precinct where he works until he can find them a home with suitable owners. Disaster was one of the first he took in, but about two years ago, he managed to claw through a screened window and got loose. "This really goes to show the importance of micro-chipping your pets," said Baker. "If you and your pet are separated, sooner or later, the odds of you and your pet being reunited are more likely thanks to this affordable technology." Micro-chipping is an inexpensive procedure where a tiny, rice-sized microchip is implanted under the pet's skin and can be used by veterinarians or animal service workers to find the pet's owner. No one may ever know the full story of where Disaster spent the past two years or how he got from Long Island to Manhattan, but he has been reunited with Helliesen and is back at home in Long Island. Should You Microchip? The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends that companion animals get microchips implanted. The following is courtesy of the ASPCA website. Visit aspca.org for more information.(http://nypress.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/pets-microchip.jpg) Background Implanted microchips, when combined with visible ID tags on a pet's collar, have proved to be the most reliable system for the recovery of lost or stray companion animals. The International Standards Organization (ISO) has issued specifications for a standardized microchip for animal identification. While most of the world has accepted these standards, North America has not. The primary problem is a competitive, technological one involving the compatibility of the microchips and the readers that are used by shelters and veterinary clinics. ASPCA Position The ASPCA supports microchip identification of companion animals. The ASPCA also supports the development of a coordinated effort to transition the United States to an ISO-compliant system. There will be some obstacles to overcome during the transition period if we are to ensure that no animals already implanted with non-ISO microchips are "orphaned." A coordinated effort that includes manufacturers and distributors of microchips, animal shelters, the veterinary community and the pet trades can overcome these difficulties. In those areas where a coordinated system has been actively supported by animal shelters and the veterinary community, pets, pet guardians and the shelters themselves have benefited.
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