Lost or stray animals, as well as pets which can no longer be cared for at home, eventually end up at an animal shelter.
While these shelters may not always be perfect, and don't offer the same loving environment as a home, they provide a safe place for the animals to wait to be adopted, reunited with their families or, in some cases, sadly, euthanised.
In the past Orange’s RSPCA has maintained cages where people could deposit surrendered or found animals at any time of the night or day.
However under a new system being launched by Orange City Council there’s now an innovative way for stray dogs make their way home.
Now if someone finds a stray dog they can take it straight to the Canobolas Family Pet Hospital.
Staff there will check if for a microchip and if the contact details are up to date they will attempt to contact the owner and if successful, reunite the animal with its owner.
However if a dog is not microchipped, or if the owner cannot be found, or if the details are out of date, then the dog’s future is much less certain.
A council ranger will pick it up from the vet clinic and take it to a privately-run boarding kennel with no public access.
An animal without an ID chip will be kept for seven days. An animal fitted with an ID microchip will be kept for 14 days.
Further attempts will be made before that deadline expires to contact the owner, including posting photographs on a new Facebook page that’s aimed at re-uniting the parties.
This is a great idea, with many community Facebook sites already successfully using social media to reunite pets and families.
However, if the owner has not collected the animal by that deadline, then efforts can be made to re-home the animal.
If those efforts are unsuccessful, the animal will be euthanised humanely by a vet.
The introduction of this new system only helps to highlight the importance of ensuring all dogs are fitted with an ID microchip.
Not only will it ensure the animal is kept alive for 14 days, it will also prove a vital tool in reuniting lost dogs and their owners.
Being a responsible dog owner means so much more than providing food, water and shelter for your pet – it also means ensuring it is microchipped.