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Chirping about his chip

Charlie is the first bird to receive an ID microchip implant at the Burbank Animal Shelter.

February 18, 2011|By Joyce Rudolph joyce.rudolph@latimes.com
  • Charlie is one of the first birds to receive a microchip at Burbank Animal Shelter. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff Photographer)
Charlie is one of the first birds to receive a microchip…

Charlie, an African grey parrot, became the first bird to receive an identification microchip implant at the Burbank Animal Shelter.

Now, if she’s ever lost, a breast scan will reveal her ID number, and through a recovery network she can be reunited with her owner.

In dogs and cats, the microchip, the size of a grain of rice, is applied just under the skin at the back of the neck.

Connie Donoho of Burbank has had Charlie for 15 years, and even though the parrot’s wings are clipped, Donoho decided to have her microchipped in case she ever wanders away.

In the past, Animal Control Officer John McCullough said shelter officials recommended birds and other exotic animals get microchipped at a veterinary office in Studio City.

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But veterinarian Leah Greer, a board-certified specialist in exotic animals, can now do the microchipping in Burbank, McCullough said.

“I’m the only veterinarian in L.A. County that has the designation ‘Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine,’” Greer said.

She gained experience microchipping many animals, including birds and reptiles, during her 10 years at the Los Angeles Zoo.

The $10 fee is included when a pet is adopted from the shelter, McCullough said. For an additional fee, owners can have their pet ID numbers entered into a nationwide recovery network.

“The advantage of the microchip is it can never fall off or be taken off,” McCullough said, but pet owners have to remember to update their contact information if they move or change phone numbers.

For more information on having a pet microchipped at the Burbank shelter, call (818) 238-3340. The service is for Burbank residents only.

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