This is the strange case of Tigger the Cat.
Debbie Richardson, Tigger’s owner, said that someone stole the cat and took him to a vet to get his microchip removed.
Tigger is now, thankfully, back with Richardson, but this story is not done yet. She has filed a lawsuit to make a point about microchips with the Cook County Circuit Court.
“I want accountability – reasonable accountability,” she said.
Richardson’s lawsuit said her daughter’s ex-boyfriend stole Tigger a few years ago.
While the family searched for him, they said the ex-boyfriend somehow convinced the Portage Park Animal Hospital and Dental Clinic to remove Tigger’s microchip.
“He wanted to keep Tigger,” Richardson said.
The suit says that the chip was registered to Richardson.
“It’s not about money; it’s about them being responsible,”
Richardson said. “I mean, they are the ones that we depend on to take care of our fur babies, and the fact that they would just do this is disturbing.”
We found similar stories online of pet owners or their exes navigating murky legal waters regarding microchips — the implanted devices that help owners track down lost pets.
“This is something that should concern people across the board,” Richardson said.
We wanted to ask the animal hospital why they’d remove the microchip, but a manager told us they couldn’t comment because of the lawsuit.
“If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t,” Richardson said, “and they need to be professional on the way they pursue things.”
The American Veterinary Medical Association offers best practices and policies for animal hospitals, so we asked them their stance on removing microchips.
It turns out they do not have any guidance on that.
A respected suburban veterinarian said there are rare cases – like when a tumor grows near a chip – that removal might be medically necessary.
But that is not the case here, and fragments almost always should remain implanted for the life of an animal.
Richardson said she wound up getting Tigger back from her daughter’s ex-boyfriend through an earlier lawsuit.