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An ID is their way home

"Gerdy," one of the adoption cats at Oklahoma City Animal Welfare, is sporting her identification tag. [Photo Provided]
"Gerdy," one of the adoption cats at Oklahoma City Animal Welfare, is sporting her identification tag. [Photo Provided]

In 2016, about 5,900 stray dogs and nearly 5,400 stray cats entered the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter.

Fewer than 1,900 of those were able to be reunited with their owner, and only 67 of those were cats. Pet identification is essential in being able to return your lost pet home.

The fastest way to get your pet home is a collar with an identification tag. The tag should include your name, address and phone number. It is important that you ensure the collar is fitted appropriately so it doesn’t come off and it’s not so tight that it becomes a choking hazard.

Cats should have break away collars. Yes, cats should have identification tags, too! Oklahoma City ordinance requires that all dogs and cats have a current rabies vaccination, and a rabies tag is required to be on the animal at all times. Pets are able to be reunited using rabies tags, but they are not as reliable, and your information can only be obtained if the veterinarian who gave the vaccine is open.

You can receive free identification tags at the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter seven days a week between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Microchipping is another great form of identification. I would recommend that you have both an identification tag and a microchip for your pets. Microchips are great because they are a permanent form of identification. You don’t have to worry about the collar coming off or losing it. The only negative to microchips is you have to have a microchip scanner in order to read them. Most shelters and veterinary clinics will have these scanners available if you find a lost pet. The microchip is small and inserted under the skin between the front shoulder blades. When scanning for a microchip, be sure that you scan the entire neck and back area, as well as down the front legs. In some rare instances, if not inserted properly, the microchip can migrate under the skin.

If you happen to lose your pet, always check your local shelter first. Oklahoma City residents can view all of stray animals in the shelter by visiting the website at

I always recommend visiting the shelter in person. Sometimes your description of your pet may be different than what the shelter employee puts into the computer. Posting fliers in your neighborhood is another great way to get the word out about your lost pet. Most neighborhoods now use You  can also download the app as a way of communicating with your neighbors. This is a great place to post that you have lost a pet. I would also talk to neighborhood kids. They see everything! Most importantly, don’t wait! The sooner you begin your search, the more likely you are to find them!

To find out more about Oklahoma City Animal Welfare, visit the shelter at 2811 SE 29 St. or visit


Jonathan Gary

Jonathan Gary is Oklahoma City Animal Welfare superintendent. He has worked at Oklahoma City Animal Welfare for 18 years, working in all areas of operation leading up to his promotion to superintendent in August 2016. Read more ›