A Florida family is warning pet owners to keep their animals' microchip information up to date after their failure to do so meant their beloved beagle was put down. Kristi Durham says her husband called three shelters and posted to a Facebook page for lost pets when their dog Lefty disappeared from their Lakeland yard last Thursday, per WFTS. While visiting a shelter the next day, he learned Polk County Animal Control had euthanized the 3-year-old beagle almost immediately after he was found because of health problems—Lefty had sight and hearing issues and turned in circles from a past head injury—and because a phone number associated with the dog's microchip was out of date.
Durham, who moved from Kentucky to Florida in August, hadn't thought to update the information. And though Animal Control typically keeps animals for four days before putting them up for adoption, a vet determined Lefty "was not a healthy animal" and should be euthanized, a rep for the Polk County Sheriff's Office tells WTSP. While officials are offering Durham a free pet from a shelter, she wants to make sure other pet owners don't have to suffer the same heartbreak as her family. Microchips can be updated online using sites like the Found Animal Registry and HomeAgain.com, or by contacting the microchip manufacturer, according to Cesar's Way. (A microchip helped a dog return home after traveling 2,700 miles.)