The lowly pet collar is going high-tech.
Within the next two months, Anne Arundel County will offer a new way for owners to reunite with their lost pets: a tiny microchip injected under their skin.
It will expand a pilot program begun in May for people who are adopting or picking up lost cats or dogs at Animal Control headquarters in Millersville.
Animal Control will host clinics for pet owners where they can have a veterinarian implant a microchip the size of a grain of rice between their pets' shoulder blades, said county police Lt. Jonathan Church, who oversees Animal Control.
Scanners can read the microchip, which identifies the pet's owner and can display contact information, Church said.
He estimated that the county has been scanning stray pets for microchips for three to five years but could recall only one animal that had one. Animal Control also implants microchips in potentially dangerous dogs to warn officers who encounter them.
Since May, 75 to 100 people have had the chips implanted in their pets, Church said.
Animals are typically sedated for the procedure, said spokesman Justin Scally. Each chip is programmed with a unique identification number and the owner's name, which are kept in a database, Scally said.
Owners have the option of registering their phone numbers and addresses with HomeAgain, the company that makes the microchips, so that information can be displayed when scanned.