Faulty reader sees pet euthanised
THE last thing Alwyn Vipen expected to come home to after a two-week holiday was news the family pet had been euthanised.
Lady was an American Bulldog X Bull Arab and had been in the Vipen family for two-and-a-half years, a beloved pet to Alwyn, his wife and their three children.
Last month, while the Vipens were holidaying in the Northern Territory, Lady was caught by the council and taken to the pound.
"We got a text message from a friend who was looking after Lady while we were away saying our dog was in the pound," Alwyn said.
"We had hardly any reception, I only got the text message on the way home... the council never contacted me.
"I didn't know, but under local law if in 72 hours they (animals) haven't been picked up, they get euthanised."
While the dog wasn't registered with the Central Highlands Regional Council, she was microchipped with the Australian-recognised company Pet Safe.
"They (the council) reckon they couldn't find a microchip on her, so they euthanised her," Alwyn said.
Shocked and upset on hearing the news, Alwyn rang Pet Safe to confirm the microchipping process had been successful and was told Lady was definitely registered in the system to the Vipen family's Blackwater address.
"By the sound of it, their microchipping machine doesn't work," Alwyn said of the CHRC.
"They (the council) wouldn't tell me when or where she was euthanised, and the vet they suggested she may have been euthanised at was the same place we got her microchipped eight weeks ago, so they would have recognised her and had her on file."
When the Vipens left for their holiday, Lady had her collar and ID tag on, along with her microchip number attached.
"They also couldn't tell me if she had her collar and tag on when she was picked up," Alwyn said.
Alwyn was told by a member at the council the microchip reader in Blackwater had been faulty for quite some time, which is why it may not have picked up the microchip number.
"It's just not good enough," he said. "What is going to stop it from happening to another family? I've got three kids under six that don't know yet - they will be distraught."
Lady had also just had a litter of puppies, which she was still feeding.
Alwyn said this fact was quite obvious to anyone who would have seen her.
"I'm more angry than anything. I just can't understand what the point of microchipping is if they just euthanise them anyway - I didn't even know that 72 hours was the law," he said.
"I'd just like to make people aware, I wouldn't want it to happen to anybody else."
Acting Central Highlands Regional Council chief executive Brad Duke said the council was investigating the matter.