Texas microchip mix-up leads to dispute over adopted dog

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An Austin couple is hoping a microchip mix-up does not cause them to lose their dog.

John Baxa and Keller Davis adopted a dog named Wiley two years ago from the Austin Animal Center. But the energetic Chihuahua-Corgi escaped while they were visiting Davis’ parents in Addison for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“He probably saw a squirrel or something and slipped under the fence. And we immediately, all of my family members, jumped in vehicles and started slowly driving around the neighborhood looking for him,” Davis said. 

Wiley was eventually picked up by an animal control officer and taken to the city’s animal shelter. Davis called looking for him and was told he could pick him up.

But then workers scanned Wiley’s microchip and told Davis he is not the dog’s registered owner.

“They also told me at that time, ‘Well, we contacted the primary person for the microchip that we scanned him with, but it's not you, it's someone else,’” Davis said. 

Apparently, when the dog was brought to the Austin Animal Center as a stray two years ago, someone scanned his microchip and entered it into the center’s database incorrectly. Because of that, his original owner was never contacted.

Now the original owner wants him back too.

Davis said the ordeal is frustrating.

He and Baxa did register the microchip number given to them by the animal center after they adopted Wiley. It just wasn’t the correct number.

“He’s not just a number. He’s a part of a family. He’s a pet. He’s a living creature and just the fact that he’s kind of been equated to just a number and our number is an incorrect number is just such a mess,” he said.

The Austin Animal Center sent a statement to FOX 7 Austin about the incident that reads:

“We deeply regret this human error, which we know is causing heartache for two families who love the same dog. When this dog, now named Wiley, was brought to Austin Animal Center as a stray in 2016, his microchip was entered incorrectly in the center’s database. Microchips have unique identifier codes that are a combination of 9-15 characters and can be numeric or alphanumeric in format. The data entry process for each of the more than 16,000 animals intaked every year at Austin Animal Center is done manually and we unfortunately made a mistake when typing in the microchip number. Wiley stayed at the center for the state required three-day stray holding period and was adopted afterward.”

For now, Wiley is being held at the animal shelter. The Addison city attorney is waiting to hear from the city of Austin before determining what will be done.