New free ride program for pets in Chesterfield - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

New free ride program for pets in Chesterfield

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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -

A brand new program in Chesterfield County is helping ease the stress of losing a pet. It's called "The Free Ride Home Program" and it offers to bring lost dogs to their owners, instead of the shelter.

It's not just the dogs. Anything wearing a collar or that has a microchip is eligible for this program. They say they've had things like llamas and cats here, so if you have an animal, and you want it to get home safely if it's lost, that's your starting point.

The idea is a simple one, if Animal Control finds your lost pet and the pet has tags or a chip, it will get a ride home instead of to the shelter. Officials say it makes things easier for everyone. 

"Stress for the animal, stress for the owner that's trying to find their missing pet and so we can reduce the stress for everybody involved," said Animal Control Assistant Supervisor Rob Leinberger.

It keeps the shelter from overcrowding and there is a cost savings to pet owners, too. A ride home is free, if responders can figure out where your pet lives. If it has to be boarded, it will cost you $30 the first night and $12 each night after that. 

"It can add up and be a bit costly," Leinberger said.

The program is a first of its kind in the region, but Animal Control workers say it's just the right thing to do for Chesterfield County.

"We just want these animals to get home, so in an effort to be more creative, more attune to the community needs, and again, to keep animals out of the shelter and where they're supposed to be- at their house," he added.

Because there's really no place like home.

And remember, they can only provide this free service if they know where your dog lives. So make sure it is either micro chipped. Or that it's wearing a collar with your phone number or address.

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