• Owners say ARL neutered dog, didn't locate microchip

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    PITTSBURGH - The owners of a runaway dog are demanding answers after they say it took a local animal shelter several days to realize their pet was there.

    Jason Watkins and Tamara Hopkins said they were planning on using their pure-bred boxer, Tyson, as a breeder, and recently they bought a female boxer and had kennels built at Hopkins’ Mt. Washington home.

    Last month, Watkins and Hopkins said Tyson got loose on the North Side, was picked up by animal control and taken to the Animal Rescue League.

    Paperwork from the ARL showed Tyson was brought in on Aug. 16 and scanned for a microchip, but none was detected.

    Three days later, the paperwork showed a chip was detected during a behavioral evaluation. But, the owners were never notified that Tyson was there.

    On Aug. 20, the paperwork said a new microchip was implanted and Tyson was neutered.

    “They handed us the paperwork and said they re-chipped our dog and neutered our stud dog,” Watkins said.

    The ARL said a microchip doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get your lost pet back.

    The ARL director said in a statement, “ID tags and microchips can help expedite returning an animal to its owner, but they’re not foolproof. Collars and tags can be removed. Microchips can escape detection.”

    Hopkins said she called daily to see if the ARL had Tyson and was told no. The shelter said owners should report a missing pet by visiting in person.

    “I cried and cried,” Hopkins said.

    Hopkins said the director told her he was sorry.

    “He said, ‘I’m so sorry this happened. Mistakes happen,’” Hopkins said.

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