A devastated dog owner was left heartbroken when council staff told her the microchip details for her lost pet had been deleted from their database.
Todd, a 10-year-old Norfolk terrier, went missing from stables in Lewth Lane, Woodplumpton, as owner Nicky Livesey, 50, was caring for horses there.
The animal belongs to Nicky’s son, a serving soldier, and was wearing her Help for Heroes collar when she went missing.
The family, from Newton-with-Scales, near Preston, immediately phoned around local vets and rescue centres to find her but were repeatedly asked for her microchip number.
But because it is nine years since she was chipped the family have lost their original paperwork.
Usually the details are also kept by the microchip firm, such as Petlog, and the organisation who chips them – in this case Fylde Council.
Petlog could not find Todd’s details so Mrs Livesey asked for the number and details off the council.
She was shocked when council staff admitted they get rid of microchipped pets’ details after seven years.
Ms Livesey has also been told the details could have been inputted wrong – which means under welfare laws her dog could be re-homed within seven days of being handed in if the animal shelter can’t find her owner.
Outraged Nicky said: “I can’t believe they would get rid of details after just seven years. Some dogs live until they are nearly 20. You are given a chip number so if the dog gets lost it can be scanned and a number comes up with the address you gave. If you lose the number the microchip firm and council should have it.
“When she went missing I was upset but confident if someone picked her up and scanned her they would see who she belongs to.”
She added: “I was taken aback because under the law she could be re-homed within seven days of being found because they won’t have our details.
“I thought if they found the paperwork we could at least see what details had been put in.
“But the council phoned me again after having another search and told us they only keep the paperwork for seven years. “
The RSPCA and Kennel Club both said it depends on the organisation microchipping the pets how long they keep the records.
Neil Graham, spokesman for Fylde Council, said: “Our dog wardens wish her well in finding the pet. Our two dog wardens are aware the pet is missing and have been out looking for her and will continue to do so.
“We have been in touch with the microchipping company we subcontract to and they no longer have the details.
“We can say, however, when the lady’s pet was microchipped she was given written details on the chip number and we hope she will be able to find those.
“We have never had a situation like this. We believe seven years is adequate. We do not offer the microchipping service anymore. Pet owners were told at the time that the list only retained the details for seven years.”
A spokesman from Dogs Trust adds: “Dogs Trust understands the worry caused when a pet goes missing and extends sympathies to the family.
“It is imperative that a pet’s microchip details are kept up-to-date and we remind all dog owners to inform their chosen database of a change of address or phone number.”